Million-Martha-Month, and Albee’s panting; Kudisch’s “Carousel” audition
The Martha Graham Dance Company Gala on April 6 was attended by a diverse representation of New York society: Mikhail Baryshnikov with Alexandra (his daughter by Jessica Lange), designers Badgley Mishka and Vera Wang, artist Leroy Neiman (in a purple suit), furrier Dennis Basso, writer Amy Fine Collins, Andre Leon Talley in a copious Yohji cape, ubiquitous fashionella Ahn Duong, and Woody Allen with wife Soon Yi. Like a frightened schoolboy, Allen cringed from the paparazzi and you couldn’t help feeling, “Hey, you got a young, pretty wife who probably wouldn’t mind having her picture taken!”
But one had to really wonder how that serious balletomane Donald Trump, of the now officially out-of-control coiffure, enjoyed the evening, which consisted of very heavy Graham-esque onstage cavorting of dire Amazonian women (call it the “Million Martha March”) and symbolic representations of death. Perhaps he responded better to Martha Clarke’s commissioned piece, “Sueño,” some Euro-trashy kitsch based on Goya’s war etchings, replete with a hunchback and dancers cackling in garbled Esperanto.
I spoke to the lead dancer, Alessandra Prosperi, who said, “The company wanted to do something new, but this really wasn’t a dance piece, I know. Clarke is no Pina Bausch, whom I adore. Sometimes it works better than others. But we are so happy to be dancing again after being away for all those years. [The company had been embroiled in legal battles with Graham’s executor, Ron Protas.] Last year’s gala was also lovely, and we all got to keep the Zac Posen dresses we were given to wear, the only designer who did that.”
I complimented Prosperi on her fierce acting ability in “El Penitente,” and she said, “Thank you, but it’s really there in the movement. That was Martha’s genius.”
Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol.com