Biography

Christine DakinChristine Dakin, dancer - teacher - director, a foremost exponent of the Martha Graham repertory and technique, is known for her performances of Ms. Graham’s roles and for those created for her by Martha Graham and artists such as Robert Wilson, Twyla Tharp and Martha Clarke. Performing in the principal theaters of the world, partnered by renowned artists such as Rudolf Nureyev and filmed in the repertory, she was chosen by Graham for the company in 1976. Dakin became Associate Artistic Director in 1997 and was named Artistic Director with Terese Capucilli in 2002. Leading the company to its rebirth, they are credited with bringing the artistic excellence and repertory of the Company to a level not seen since Martha Graham’s death and were named Artistic Directors Laureate.

Dakin was honored by the dance community with a “Bessie” Performance Award (2003) and the Dance Magazine Award (1994), was a Fulbright Senior Scholar (1999), recipient of a grant from CEC ArtsLink (1996), the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (2000) and two Rockefeller-US-Mexico Fund for Culture grants (1998, 2001) for choreography, research and teaching. At Harvard University she was the Evelyn Green Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2007/08), Visiting Lecturer for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (2006, 2009), offering the University’s first credit course in dance, and was the “Learning from Performers” guest artist (2001). Educated at the University of Michigan, Ms. Dakin is the recipient of the University of Michigan Alumni Award (2001), an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Shenandoah University (2001), and an Honorary Doctorate from the Universidad de Colima, Mexico (2007).

On the faculty of The Juilliard School, 1993 to 2003, she is currently faculty at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and the Ailey School in New York, and is known internationally as a teacher and guest artist from Russia to Latin America; since 1981 maintaining a special relationship with the Mexican dance community as teacher, choreographer with the Ballet Nacional de México, Universidad de Colima’s Ballet Folklórico and contemporary company Univerdanza, Universidad de Veracruz, Xalapa, la Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Yucatán, Invernadero Danza Oaxaca, and as guest performer with Ciudad Interior. Her choreography in collaboration with Mexican composers and scenic designers has premiered in Mexico City and the International Festival Sn. Luis Potosí.

While continuing to perform and teach, Dakin has directed and written La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks; the personal poetics of a Martha Graham dancer, a film created in collaboration with American and Mexican dancers and musicians, exploring the work and creative life of a dancer. She is dancer and founding member of Buglisi Dance Theatre (1993), of danz.fest (Italy 2008), and with Radcliffe Institute colleague, physicist Jane Wang, is investigating with artists and scientists: “Locomotion/Emotion; perception of complex movement and the dynamics of beauty”.

Christine Dakin joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1976, performing through the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Scandinavia and Mexico, representing the Company as spokesperson and teacher of Graham’s technique. She was with the Company when it became the first contemporary dance company to perform at London’s Covent Garden and New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, and at such renowned theaters as the Herod Atticus in Athens, the New York State Theater, the Hall in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and the Grand Opera houses of Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris.

Dakin and colleague Terese Capucilli were named Associate Artistic Directors of the Company in 1997. Faced with a suspension of operations in 2000 and a legal challenge to the Company’s right to perform Graham’s works, they kept the core of the Company’s artistic heritage alive, leading the dancers in a boycott, and working with lawyers until the Company’s rights were confirmed and it resumed under their Artistic Direction. From 2000 to 2005 they trained and coached a new generation of dancers, re-forged relations with past generations and initiated collaborations with resources such as the Noguchi Foundation to discover and reinstate authentic productions of Graham’s dances. Grounded in Martha Graham’s tradition of imagination and change they directed reconstructions and revivals of more than 15 works, reanimating the work from authentic sources and designing and introducing innovations in costume, sets and music for the repertory. Among other Company firsts, she and Capucilli produced an exhibit of historic and contemporary photographs of the company’s repertory.

Their work attracted such varied artists as Patti Smith, Oscar de la Renta, Martha Clarke, guest choreographer of “Sueño” (2004) and André Leon Talley, whom Dakin coached and directed in Liza Minnelli’s original role of storyteller in the Company’s 2004 revival of Graham’s “The Owl and the Pussycat”. Dakin developed educational events for the Company; she wrote, choreographed and narrated a Kennedy Center televised Distance Learning program and conceived and directed inter-arts workshops: “Caught on Camera”, for photographers and dancers, and with musicians, a workshop with the Umani Winds quintet directed by company musician and composer Pat Daugherty at the Virginia Arts Festival.

Ms. Dakin has performed in almost every work in the repertory and is known for her performance of the roles Ms. Graham originally danced herself; solos “Lamentation” and “Deep Song”, Medea in “Cave of the Heart”, The Bride in “Appalachian Spring”, Jocasta in “Night Journey”, Ariadne in “Errand into the Maze”, She Who Seeks in “Dark Meadow”, “Phaedra”, Hecuba in “Cortege of Eagles” and A Woman in “Hérodiade”. For the Company’s 1992 and 1994 New York seasons she performed the title role in Ms. Graham’s full evening work “Clytemnestra”; one of only six dancers to do so since Graham in 1958. In 1988 coached by Ms. Graham and Liza Minnelli she recreated the speaking part in Graham’s “Letter to the World”.

During the seventeen years Ms. Dakin worked with Martha Graham before her death in 1991, Graham created principal roles for her, most notably in, “Rite of Spring” and “Phaedra’s Dream” in which Rudolf Nureyev was her partner at the New York State Theater and the Paris and Berlin Opera Houses. Guest artist Robert Wilson created a speaking/dancing solo for Ms. Dakin in his work “Snow on the Mesa” in 1995. In 1993 she was chosen by Twyla Tharp for the title role of the work “Demeter and Persephone”. She was singer/dancer/actress for the creation of Martha Clarke’s dance/play “Ann the Word” (2006).

Ms. Dakin was invited to perform for President and Mrs. Reagan, representing contemporary dance in the WNET production “Young Artists in Performance at the White House”, dancing two selections from the Graham repertory with Donlin Foreman. In 1993 she was a featured performer and spokesperson for Graham in the French documentary Les Printemps du Sacre. In Japan (NHK) she was filmed in “Night Journey” and “Rite of Spring” for release on Bravo, and at the Paris Opera in “Herodiade”. Other film credits include “Clytemnestra” and “Acts of Light” (WNET).

Ms. Dakin was awarded two Rockefeller U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture Grants (1998, 2002) and a grant from the Mexico’s Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (2000) for choreography, teaching and research. Performer and teacher in Mexico since 1981, with the Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporánea and Ballet Nacional de México in Querétaro (Director Guillermina Bravo), in Merida, Yucatán with the Instituto de Cultura and Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Yucatán, (Director Graciella Torres Polanco), she is guest artist and faculty advisor at the Universidad de Colima and its Ballet Folklórico (Director Rafael Zamarripa) and contemporary company, Univerdanza (Directors Adriana Leon and Alejandro Vera), Universidad de Veracruz, Xalapa, and guest artist with the company Ciudad Interior, ( Director Alejandro Chavéz). Her choreography in collaboration with Mexican composers and scenic designers have premiered at the Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City and the International Festival Sn. Luis Potosí.

Ms. Dakin teaches, lectures and performs internationally. Fluent in French and Spanish with a working knowledge of Italian and Russian, the US Information Agency’s Arts America Cultural Specialist program (1992) sponsored Ms. Dakin in residence at the Ballet Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and performing and teaching in Vladivostok, Russia, one of the first Americans to be allowed into this Siberian city. She was awarded a CEC ArtsLink grant (1996), returning to Vladivostok to produce and perform in joint concert with the Olga Bavdilovich Theater Dance company and was consultant for the Cultural Affairs Office of Vladivostok to develop a Festival of Far Eastern Dance. Ms Dakin is founding member of danz.fest (Italy 2008) in collaboration with the University of Bologna and Guaraldi Eventi, and of Invernadero Danza (Mexico 2009), directed by Rosario Ordoñez.

Associate Founder and dancer for Buglisi Foreman Dance Theater with Graham colleagues Jacqulyn Buglisi, Terese Capucilli and Donlin Foreman, Ms. Dakin began this collaboration with the solo “Molting” choreographed for her by Ms. Buglisi in 1991. Now Buglisi Dance Theatre, the company performs worldwide, in extensive outreach programs, and in New York seasons at the Joyce Theater. The company made its New York debut in 1994 with their full evening dance/play “Runes of the Heart” which had its Kennedy Center premiere in the America Dancing Series, and touring internationally, was featured in the 1999 Melbourne Festival. The company was filmed in interview and rehearsal for the feature documentary Courage.

She is honored to have been on the faculty of The Juilliard School for ten years under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy. Currently she teaches at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, where she continues Martha Graham’s seminal contribution to actor training. Ms. Dakin has taught at the Martha Graham Center since 1972 and been guest faculty at Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Duke University, SUNY Purchase, The Lincoln Center Institute and New York University.

Educated at the University of Michigan (1967-1971) in French and Russian Studies, she began her dance training there and received a scholarship to the American Dance Festival in 1969, then located at Connecticut College. The passion and talents of faculty Elizabeth Bergmann and Gay Delanghe inspired her to continue in dance and in 1971 she began professional training with the teachers whom she considers her mentors; Kazuko Hirabayashi, and Ms. Graham at the Martha Graham Center; and Pearl Lang, co-artistic director at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. On scholarship at the Graham School she studied with company members Judy Hogan, Lar Roberson and under the direction of Bertram Ross and Mary Hinkson was a member of the Martha Graham Apprentice Company (1972). Ms. Dakin began ballet training in New York with Maggie Black, and at the New York Conservatory of Dance with Igor Schvezof and Nina Stroganova. For eighteen years, until the time of his death, she had the good fortune to study with Vladimir Dokoudovsky a foremost exponent of the Preobrajenska Method and original member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

From 1971 to 1977 she performed with and assisted the companies of Kazuko Hirabayashi and Pearl Lang on tour and in New York venues such as the Delacorte Theater, the 92nd St.Y, and the Eden Theater. With Pearl Lang she performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall for Aaron Copeland’s Birthday Celebration, in the performance and filming of “The Dybbuk” with guest artists from the American Ballet Theater, William Carter and Alexander Mintz and in the off-Broadway Yiddish Theater production choreographed by Ms. Lang, “Hard to be a Jew” with renowned actors Joseph Buloff and Zvee Scooler.

Christine Dakin is listed in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in Entertainment”. She is a member of AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) and Actors Equity. She lives in the Bronx, New York with her better half, husband Steve Mauer, technical theater director, film editor, stagehand, carpenter.