Carly Checks in from Skidmore

June 9, 2008

Hello dancers!

I’m Carly and I’m writing to you from Skidmore College in upstate New York, where I’ve been working with the Martha Graham Dance Company during their one-month residency here. I’m doing a work-study, which means I spend my days not only in class, but also helping the company and the administration. I’m taking this experience for credit, which means my days are packed from sunrise to post-sunset with classes and work. I’ll be a junior at Skidmore in September, but I won’t actually be here in the fall because I’ll be studying abroad at the University of Oxford. I’m a dance performance and choreography major with a double major in psychology and a double minor in women’s studies and honors forum (I dare you to try saying that in one breath and from memory!).

I had the amazing opportunity to work with the company for a week before the students got here. I started every day with company class, and I learned more Graham technique in that week than all previous years combined. I worked on my photography skills by taking pictures of rehearsals of Clytemnestra (I’ll be talking much more about this piece later) and Night Journey. I also helped put together the original Isamu Noguchi sets, which was totally outrageous. I had seen those set pieces in videos I watched in my dance classes, but to actually hold them in person was unreal.

We begin each day with technique class, which is usually taught by Denise Vale or Peter Sparling. Peter teaches composition, and then we either work with the company members on the name-calling section of Clytemnestra or with Janet Eilber, artistic director, on Panorama. We’re re-staging Panorama and will be performing it at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on June 13th with other dances performed by the company. Then we take a dance media workshop taught by Jaki Levy, in which we’re making videos, taking pictures, and learning about blogging as it relates to dance. After homework and dinner, we have rehearsal and then drag our tired bodies back to the dorms to shower and pass out.

I have to run because tonight we’re going to a dance photography exhibit opening at the National Museum of Dance. In my next blog, I’ll tell you all about the work we’re doing with Clytemnestra and Panorama. If you can’t stand the anticipation, feel free to explore until then. Be well!