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 [email protected]