IN A NEW PLANET CLASSROOM PODCAST, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JANET EILBER AND YOUNG DANCERS FROM THE MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY DISCUSS THE TIMELINESS OF APPALACHIAN SPRING AND HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN BE THE GREAT EQUALIZER.
Art institutions worldwide are closed or partially closed because of COVID-19, but that isn't stopping dancers at the Martha Graham Dance Company from continuing to offer dance, fitness, stress relief, healing and connection for all. As the iconic Graham ballet Appalachian Spring (now screening on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel) reminds us, life is not always easy. The ballet prompts us “to think about and believe in the power of optimism, of hard work, of determination and resistance against challenge,” says Artistic Director Janet Eilber on the new Planet Classroom podcast, in which leading Graham dancers talk about the transition from Live to Virtual during the COVID19 pandemic.
In a period when many feel nervous about the future of live dance performances, the Graham company is exploring the opportunities that technology offers. Zoom, something that originally may have been mostly used for business conference calls, is now being used “as a source of thousands of dance classes around the world to connect to one another,” says Graham dancer Lloyd Knight. While dancer Anne Souder admits there are challenges for the dancer in the digital space, she believes the true power of technology lies in its ability to create “equality to accessing the arts.”