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We are commissioning four bold contemporary choreographers to create new works inspired by Martha Graham’s iconic solo "Lamentation."
We are commissioning four bold contemporary choreographers to create new works inspired by Martha Graham’s iconic solo "Lamentation."
230 backers pledged $15,125 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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UPDATE: Check out our new rewards at $35 - $1,000 for TICKETS to the premiere, opportunities to explore creating your own Lamentation Variation and signed gifts from Sonya Tayeh!!  

The Martha Graham Dance Company wants to work with you to commission bold new art. A contribution of any size to the Lamentation Variations project opens the door to the creative process for all who join us in this effort.

Who are we? What are we doing?

The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926. We are dedicated to sharing Graham's legacy and commissioning bold new work that resonates with our core collection of 20th-century Graham masterpieces. 

Artistic Director Janet Eilber conceived of Lamentation Variations in 2007 to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, giving choreographers the opportunity to create new interpretations of Graham's iconic solo, Lamentation. Although the series was envisioned as a one time performance, the audience reception for the Lamentation Variations was so positive that it has been added to the repertory of the Martha Graham Dance Company. 

Eight top choreographers -- Aszure Barton, Larry Keigwin, Lar Lubovitch, Josie Moseley, Richard Move, Bulareyaung Pagarlava, Yvonne Rainer, and Doug Varone -- have already created Variations

Help us create our next four Lamentation Variations 

We've commissioned four talented choreographers to create new Lamentation Variations

  • Kyle Abraham: 2013 MacArthur Fellow and founder of Abraham.In.Motion 
  • Michelle Dorrance: founder of Dorrance Dance/New York and recipient of the 2014 Alpert Award  
  • Liz Gerring: 2014 Bessie nominee for Best Production, glacier, hailed by Alastair MacAuley of the New York Times as a "top 10 dance work of 2013" 
  • Sonya Tayeh: Emmy Award nominee and favorite choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance 

All four new Lamentation Variations will premiere during our New York Season at The Joyce Theater in February 2015, and we need you to help us  get there! 
 


Why Kickstarter?


The Lamentation Variations project is a collaboration between the Martha Graham Dance Company and the dance community at large. We have asked 12 amazing choreographers to be a part of it and now we are inviting you. 
 


We are reaching beyond our established network of fans and supporters because we believe this effort reflects the very nature of the Lamentation Variations. The original work is a powerful piece that has always resonated with a broad audience - and the Variations continue to do the same today. As we prepare to premiere a new crop of Lamentation Variations, we invite you to experience the project before it hits the stage. 

Backers will gain exclusive access to the creative process of the Martha Graham Dance Company and these exciting choreographers. We will focus on one choreographer each week in all our updates, so make sure you back the project early to see them all!  

Where does the money go? 


From start to finish, onstage and off, there are many costs to creating a new work of art - not to mention four! Here is what your contribution will support: 
 

  • Choreographer fees 
  • Artist salaries 
  • Rehearsal costs 
  • Music 
  • Costumes 
  • Lighting and set design 
  • Documenting the creative process 
  • Marketing

The Team

Kyle Abraham (Pittsburgh, PA) is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, a 2012 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award recipient and 2012 USA Ford Fellow. In 2010, he received a prestigious Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show, and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography. The previous year, he was selected as one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch for 2009. In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled Abraham as the "best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama." 

Michelle Dorrance is a New York City-based tap dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance / New York. She has performed with STOMP, Jason Samuels Smith's Chasing the Bird, Derick Grant's Imagine Tap, Savion Glover's ti dii and many more. She is also a 2014 Alpert Award winner, 2013 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award winner, a 2012 Princess Grace Award winner and a 2011 Bessie Award winner. She holds a BA from NYU and also teaches on faculty at Broadway Dance Center. 

Liz Gerring grew up in the Los Angeles area and studied dance at the Cornish Institute in Seattle. She received a BFA from The Juilliard School where she studied with Kazuko Hirabayashi and Doris Rudko. She has created her own work since 1998. The Liz Gerring Dance Company has presented work at Montclair State University, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Danspace Project, The Connelly Theater, The Kitchen, and Engine 27 among other venues. She was nominated for a 2014 Bessie Award for best production for her MSU commission, glacier, which will be presented at The Joyce in April 2015.

Sonya Tayeh graduated with a BFA in dance from Wayne State University, and has since gone on to win many accolades for her choreography including the Lucille Lortel Award and Obie Award for her work on David Henry Hwang's Kung Fu. An Emmy-nominee from FOX's So You Think You Can Dance, Sonya has also worked with Madonna, Florence and the Machine, Kylie Minogue, and Miley Cyrus (Director/Choreographer of 2011's "Gypsy Heart" Tour). Sonya has also created stage works for the Signature Theater, Old Globe (Williamstown), Cirque du Soleil, Los Angeles Ballet, the San Jose Repertory Theater and Tayeh Dance Company. 

Janet Eilber has been the Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to the Graham masterworks including a growing number of commissions from today's top choreographers. During her years as a Principal Dancer, Ms. Eilber had roles created for her by Martha Graham and performed most of the major roles of the repertory.

Risks and challenges

The four choreographers have already committed to creating their Variations. In the meantime, we're tackling the traditional creative logistics associated with creating new work: rehearsal time and space, artists' schedules, union compliance, and unexpected challenges.

We have a great administrative team that addresses problems like these every day, and we are confident that with your help these incredible pieces will be ready for their February premiere at The Joyce.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Artistic Director updates throughout the creation of the Variations + Unpublished rehearsal photo sent by email

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The above + Personal thank you on the Martha Graham Dance Company Facebook page

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The above + Downloadable desktop image of a Martha Graham Principal Dancer in Martha Graham's Lamentation

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The above + A front row TICKET to the PREMIERE of the Lamentation Variations at the Joyce Theater, 7pm on Tuesday Feb 10. (NOTE: These tickets are strictly limited and are not included in other reward packages)

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    NEW!! The above + A second row TICKET to the PREMIERE of the Lamentation Variations at the Joyce Theater, 7pm on Tuesday Feb 10. (NOTE: These tickets are strictly limited and are NOT included in other reward packages)

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    The above + Test the Tube! -- Join us at the Martha Graham Studio Theater for a 2 hr choreographic workshop to learn how to make your own Lamentation Variation. (NOTE: Space in the workshop is limited and this reward is not included in the other packages)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The above + Link to a compilation of past Lamentation Variations

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The above + Invitation to a showing of the 4 new Lamentation Variations in the Martha Graham Studio Theater

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The above + Link to a video of Principal Dancer PeiJu Chien-Pott performing Martha Graham's Lamentation in full + Recognition in The Joyce Theater program

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The above + LIMITED photograph signed by SONYA TAYEH! (NOTE: These photos are strictly limited and are not included in the other reward packages)

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The above + Art quality print of Principal Dancer PeiJu Chien-Pott in Lamentation, by Hibbard Nash Photography

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The above + Invitation for you and a guest to the dress rehearsal for the world premiere of the Lamentation Variations at The Joyce Theater + Priority access to purchase premium tickets to the New York Season

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The above + One-of-a-kind photo signed and personalized by SONYA TAYEH. (NOTE: This photo is one-of-a-kind and is not included in the other reward packages)

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    The above + Private visit for you and three guests to a rehearsal of the Lamentation Variations followed by a conversation with Martha Graham Artistic Director, Janet Eilber

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The above + Poster size print of an official Hibbard Nash photograph of Lamentation from our season promotional photo shoot

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    World Premiere Sponsor of 2015 Lamentation Variations: includes all of the above rewards plus prominent recognition in premiere-year performance programs; backstage access to the world premiere in NYC and dinner with the Artistic Director

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Funding period

- (30 days)