Picking up the pieces

the storage area at Westbeth, a few days after the storm. Photo by me.
the storage area at Westbeth, a few days after the storm. Photo by me.

Eighteen months ago, Hurricane Sandy sent water gushing into the Martha Graham Dance Company’s new storage areas at the Westbeth center in the Village. Thousands of costumes and sets were damaged, some irreparably. I wrote about the destruction at the time, for the New Yorker’s culture blog.

Now I’ve updated the story for the   New York Times, chronicling the company’s recovery efforts and its constant efforts to reinvent itself and remain relevant. As a bonus, there’s a great video by Gabe Johnson, with images of costumes, archival films, and interviews with the dancers.

Breaking the Waves (Review of Martha Graham’s Fall and Recover Gala, for DanceTabs)

Blakeley White-McGuire (and her extraordinary dress) in "Imperial Gesture." Photo by Charles Eilber.
Blakeley White-McGuire (and her extraordinary dress) in “Imperial Gesture.” Photo by Charles Eilber.

Here’s my review of the Martha Graham Fall and Recovery Gala, which included the restored version of Imperial Gesture, an intriguing excerpt from Canticle for Innocent Comedians, a new work by Luca Veggetti, and an excerpt of a work-in-progress by Duato.

And a short excerpt:

“Even more than with other choreographers, the costumes and sets are essential elements of Graham’s dance imagination. Think of Martha’s stretchy sack-dress in Lamentation, or the prickly metal tree-dress by Noguchi in Cave of the Heart. They are extensions of the dancers’ bodies, and of Graham’s Jungian world-view. Even more, they color our perception of the movement. A contraction of the pelvis looks quite different in a leotard than it does in a floor-length cape-dress.”

Any thoughts on the current Graham season?