The Workshop: June 1 - 21, 2014
Overview: The Martha Graham Dance Company will teach a three-week intensive designed for pre-professional and professional dancers with a special focus on performance techniques. Participants will explore how to make the most powerful and effective choices for the stage -- whether learning a classic character or creating a new character-driven composition. Classes in Graham Technique, Repertory, Composition and Performance will be coordinated so that all will address ways to imbue the physical moves of a dance with decisions that reveal character, motivation and intention. Graham classes will be supplemented by special workshops provided by SITI Company – the professional theater company in residence at Skidmore – and by daily access to the rehearsals and creative processes of the professional dancers of the Graham Company. Though grounded in the Graham theater, the principles offered in this residency will empower participants in any style of dance or theater they choose to pursue.
Martha Graham Dance Company in Rehearsal and Performance: Core to this residency will be access to the creative work of the Martha Graham Dance Company. While on campus at Skidmore, the Company will be reconstructing two Graham masterworks, Letter to the World and Canticle for Innocent Comedians. Excerpts from these works and other Graham repertory will be learned by the workshop participants as part of both the Repertory and the Performance classes. The Company will also be engaged in the creation of Voyage, a new work of character-driven performance art by guest artist Peter Sparling, providing inspiration for the concepts offered in the Composition classes.
Technique classes: The famed physical vocabulary created by Martha Graham, will be offered each day. Led by top Graham artists, the technique classes will give participants insight into Graham’s “core driven” physicality and the use of emotional imagery to motivate movement. The Technique classes will include detailed deconstruction of the moves needed for the Graham solos and group dances participants will learn in Repertory and Performance classes.
Repertory classes: Participants will learn group and solo sections of Graham classics. These classes will offer training in all aspects of the professional rehearsal process -- from learning the movement and staging to incorporating coaching direction and developing an effective individual performance. There will be a student repertory showing at the end of the residency.
Performance Studies: This class will focus on the essential and individual, but often elusive, decisions that must be made by an artist as they prepare a performance and/or a new composition. Included will be such topics as: how to create an inner monologue, how to use focus in guiding the onstage journey, how to lead the music, rather than follow. The use of the voice, props, costumes, and other stagecraft will also be explored. Participants will develop performances of classic Graham solos in order to apply the concepts offered in this course. Special classes taught by SITI Company instructors will also be part of the Performance Studies course.
Composition classes: Closely tied to the Performance Studies course, these classes in composition will explore how to develop emotional themes, narrative and character through composition. Drawing inspiration from Letter to the World and Voyage, and applying concepts learned in the Performance Studies classes, participants will create character studies. These may, like Graham’s Letter to the World, be inspired by or include spoken word. The compositions will be showcased in performance at the end of the residency. Special classes taught by SITI Company will also be part of the Composition classes.
Rehearsals: All group rehearsals of the Martha Graham Dance Company will be open for observation by participants enrolled in the residency.
Additional activities include a performance of the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (tickets and transportation will be provided) and social events. Rehearsal space is available in the evenings and on weekends, and participants will have the opportunity to perform at a final student showing. Participants can also choose to attend SaratogaArtsFest, a three-day arts festival in Saratoga Springs planned for June 12 – 15, 2014.
Workshop classes are held in the College’s Dance Center. Participants who choose to live on Skidmore’s campus will be housed in one of the College’s residence halls. Dormitory rooms are spacious and feature free Internet access and cable television. Participants under age 18 will be supervised by the program’s resident staff. The renovated dining hall offers a broad array of freshly made items, including ample vegetarian options. Participants will have access to the College’s Scribner Library and recreational options, including swimming pool, weight and fitness rooms, lighted tennis courts, track, North Woods hiking trails, and the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.
Skidmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college known for outstanding
academics, a rich cocurricular life, and challenging and caring faculty mentors. It
is a place where creative thought matters, as evidenced by its more than 60 majors;
its arts-infused, interdisciplinary focus; and the fact that half of the College’s
2,400 undergraduates carry two majors or at least one minor with a major.