Work
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Fellow, Lecturer

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Celebrating with Dean Barbara Grosz
The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship is a scholarly community, supporting a one year residency for advanced study of scholars, scientists, artists, and writers of exceptional promise and demonstrated accomplishment in academic and professional fields and in the creative arts
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fellow Fellows, Jane Wang and Kathy Cash

What an extraordinary year living and working with this marvelous company of Fellows, supported by the vision of the Institute and its staff. It was a year spent developing my film project: La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks and learning from and with colleagues in a wide variety of fields - sensory and brain overload of experience. An end of year lecture and performance, accompanied by pianist Louis Stewart. Fellow Jane Wang and I continue to follow our conversations with artist and scientists, designing our seminar Locomotion/Emotion funded by the Institute. The seminar gave birth to the Dancing Leaf Group.

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scholarly work
I developed this academic/practice course in dance to be offered at Harvard for the Faculty of Arts and Science: The Artist Revealed; Martha Graham's Work and Creative Process.

Through the eyes of a dancer and director, we examined selected works of Martha Graham's dance theater, exploring the psychological, physical, creative, and political elements of Graham's life and work and her collaboration with 20th Century contemporaries, artists Aaron Copeland, William Schuman and Isamu Noguchi. Movement lab included basics of Graham's dance technique including gestural elements drawn from Graham's choreography as a universal body language.

Harvard University - Visiting Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Sciences 1/6/09 — 6/30/09
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Graham's Rite
Rite of Spring: the nexus of art and ritual The second course I created for the Faculty of Arts and Science - lectures and video exploring the universal appeal of the Rite of Spring, quintessential music/dance/theater embodiment of the artist's transformation of ritual to art and art to ritual. Drawing on performance studies, ethnology, and anthropology, we considered the works of Stravinsky/Nijinsky, Pina Bausch, Jaime Blanc, and Martha Graham to illuminate the relationship of art to ritual and the communal and individual response to its narrative, emotive and kinesthetic power.
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Blanc's Consagración
The students were a fascinating group of anthropologists, biologists, historians, physicists, divinity students, and a few dancers. In lab work we developed elements of a contemporary ritual, exploring the means and potential for reintegrating ritual into contemporary life. I was honored to have as guest speakers journalist/writer Alma Guillermoprieto, choreographer Jaime Blanc, and composer/conductor Louis Stewart.
Encuentro Nacional de las Escuelas de Danza de Educación Superior 10/ 27-30/2009
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Dakin, Graham y el Ballet de la Universidad de Colima, Las Bondades de la Técnica
A talk and master class at the first conference of the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información de la Danza, CENIDI-Danza José Limón, Director, Elizabeth Cámara. It was held at the University of Colima, Col. México in collaboration with Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes; Universidad de Colima, Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Escuela de Artes
Ballet Russes Redivivus: Restaging, Revival, and Reconstruction 5/15-17, 2009
Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, 1909-1929; Twenty Years That Changed the World of Art
An Exhibition and Symposium organized by The Harvard Theater Collection, Director, Fredric Woodbridge Wilson, Curator. I spoke on this panel led by George Jackson at Harvard University's New College Theater.
Circe: the animal in man — Martha Graham's reception of Odysseus, April 24-25, 2009
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Carrie Ellmore - Circe
A talk presented at the Humanities Center, Harvard University, for the Seminar: The Reception of Odysseus in Literature, Art, and Music. Organized by Co-chairs Francesca Schironi & Richard Thomas — Faculty, Department of Classics, Harvard University. It was rewarding to bring Martha's work into academia, and bring dance into the field of classics reception.
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Ken Topping - Odysseus
The emergence of reception as an increasingly central subfield within classics represents in part a new direction, in part the renaming and redefinition of familiar activities, formerly known as history of scholarship and study of the classical tradition. Those activities have generally been understood as prolegomena to, or digressions from, the classicist's main business of studying antiquity, but with the name "reception" comes the claim that reception is an integral part of classics itself. Construed this way, reception offers classicists both an expanded reach and the promise of a new theoretical basis for our discipline.
— Bridget Murnaghan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.07.19

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In the previous year I was delighted to give a lecture, Night Journey: Martha Graham's reception of Oedipus Rex, for Prof. Schironi, Department of Classics, discussing Graham's transformation of the Greek tragic form into dance art. April 24, 2008

Performance, Choreography

The Martha Graham Legacy: Perspectives on a Career in Dance — Christine Dakin 1/12/01
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"Learning from Performers Program" - Office of the Arts at Harvard. A week in residence during this first visit to Harvard, with master classes and a talk for the Harvard community with Elizabeth Bergmann, director of the Office of the Arts Dance Program, which was subsequently printed in Ballet Review (Spring 2003). I was impressed with the intelligence, talent and curiosity of the students for whom dance is a passionate extra curricular commitment.
Inside/Out: Exploring Gender and Space in Life, Culture, and Art
April 15, 16, 2010
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A talk, and keynote performance, accompanied by pianist Louis Stewart, at Agassiz Theater for The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.
"Inside/Out" will bring together artists, public intellectuals, and scholars in the fields of design, the humanities, and the social sciences to consider the dynamic interaction between two notions: how gender affects the way we experience, construct, and use spaces, and how space influences how we think about gender.
La Consagración de la Primavera — April 15-18, 2009
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The American premiere of Jaime Blanc's Rite of Spring at Harvard's New College Theater. Jaime, one of Mexico's most significant choreographers and special friend of many years whom I have taught with and choreographed for at the Ballet Nacional, set an adaptation of his full length work for the Harvard dancers. I assisted him in rehearsal and coaching and had the pleasure to join the students, performing in the role of the Ancestress. Dancers were galvanized by his Rite, and the audiences went wild. It was such a pleasure to bring him and his assistant/dancer, Jesus Tussi to work with us in Cambridge.

The program was funded by Harvard's Office for the Arts and the Dance Program, Director, Elizabeth Bergmann

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Mexican choreographer Jaime Blanc's Consagración de la Primavera (2005) is a mating dance, a celebration of human fertility. The theme is sexual hunger as primal urge. Using elements of folklore and a modern dance vocabulary, Blanc devised a new scenario but kept the idea of renewal, sacrifice, and tribal continuity that underlies Nijinsky and Stravinsky's conception.
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On the surface this dance has no resemblance to Nijinsky's choreography, but its savagery, its structural and expressive parallels with the music, and its commitment to nature's mysterious processes make it a convincing sequel.
— The Epoch Continues - Marcia B Siegel. The Hudson Review. New York: Summer 2009. Vol. 62, Iss. 2; pg. 303 —
Clay Body, Human Body: the practice of art, Oct. 20 & 23, 2007
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I have long been interested in the intersect of pottery and dance, their physicality and spirituality — loved the feel and sense of throwing pots. So I was thrilled that Nancy Selvage (Director of the Ceramics Program at Harvard) introduced me to the renowned potter, deep ecologist, former Martha Graham dancer, Paulus Berensohn and loved the idea of organizing a workshop and performance with us. I led movement exploration and performed Lamentation accompanied by pianist Louis Stewart. Joining us was Rachel Cohen, performance artist, combining clay and dance in a unique way.
Heretic — Dec. 7 & 8, 2007
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It was a pleasure to work with the Harvard Contemporary Dance Ensemble. Under the auspices of the Office for the Arts and Elizabeth Bergmann's dance department, I set and performed in Martha Graham's Heretic, with Louis Stewart at the piano. The young Harvard dancers brought out a raw female quality and intensity in Martha's work that was powerful.
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Night Journey — Apr. 21-23, 2006
A performance of excerpts from Martha Graham's Night Journey set on the Harvard dancers, with text readings from Aeschylus and a video montage.
Proyecto Lamentación - Todos al Teatro — Nov. 4, 2006
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Performing at the beautiful 19th century Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato, Mexico, accompanied by pianist Eduardo González and guest artist from the Ballet Nacional, Sergio Pérez. The project was created by Alejandro Chávez Zavala, choreographer, dancer, whom I am proud to have taught and supported for many years in Mexico and New York. With his Compañía Ciudad Interior he celebrates the interlocking traditions of Martha Graham and Mexican contemporary dance founder, Guillermina Bravo. It is a legacy we share and Alejandro's award-winning choreography takes it forward.
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After more than a decade together performing with Martha Graham, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Donlin Foreman, Terese Capucilli and I founded this company in 1994 as Buglisi Foreman Dance. Our premiere season at Lincoln Center's Clark Studio Theater in the full evening work Runes of the Heart began a long, productive collaboration; with lots of our own drama, a wonderful and generous group of supporters, audience and dancers, and an incredible body of work exploring our vision of theater.

— Margo Jefferson The New York Times, May 29, 2000
Buglisi/Foreman Dance (this is its fifth season) renews the Graham technique in all its full-bodied glory. ..Everything is here: those potent torsos, contracting, releasing, spiraling; legs, arms and heads alert to every surge of emotion. And this is not because they are in the first flush of discovering Graham. The choreographers, Jacqulyn Buglisi and Donlin Foreman, and their co-founders, Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin (magnificent dancers both), are all long-time Graham company members.
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Jacquie's Frida
But no one here is shadowed by Graham's overwhelming temperament, by that ruthless glory-driven — as she used to say, doom-eager — embrace of suffering, struggle and self-discovery. They have inherited her theatrical mastery of lighting, costumes and stage space, her way of making us feel that each dance is an encounter with destiny. It's the Buglisi/Foreman sense of destiny — or of our many destinies — that's new. Ms. Buglisi and Mr. Foreman are drawn to the expressive nuances, the everyday emotions that bind and separate us even when desire or grief is most acute. They explore quiet (call it the action of contemplation) and the give and take between couples or groups.
Martha Graham Dance Company
Martha Graham’s body of work is extraordinary. It is utterly physical and is complete theater. Her dances touch people all over the world, everywhere we met her passionate followers and rabid detractors. Her dances are complex, with over-the-top theatricality and stark minimalism, they are romantic, tragic and comedic. They are Martha.
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To become a dancer through the Graham work, and with Martha, was a great joy: to develop body and mind and discover how inextricable they are. Her technique revolutionized dance and even before seeing her dances, it captured me: falling in love with organic, deep, powerful movement.

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Jocasta in Night Journey

It was a privilege to work with Martha, to learn from her, laugh with her, be a part of creating, embodying, her dances and to know her as an artist, and woman. As a young dancer I soaked up everything, performing in the chorus, learning from the other amazing dancers. Later, performing solo and principal roles in the same works, I understood them from another perspective and could sink deeply into them over many years. Directing the Company, the challenge was to share what I know about Martha's technique and her art, make the works alive and pass them on to new dancers and audiences.  

Martha Graham’s vision was enormous. She engaged the world widely, avidly, passionately. She made incredible demands, opened vistas intellectual and physical; watching her, you could witness what creativity means, how uncompromising art is, and what it costs.  It is a way of being in the world I embraced.

Boca de las Piedras & Matlatemi
1999 & 2000
Boca de las Piedras and Matlatemi, en pugno las piedras, companion works, were dreamed, researched and worked on with dancers in Mexico, over the course of 3 years. They began with pleasure in experiencing the life of dance in small communities and large across Mexico and in the fascination with the arts and history of the indigenous people, particularly that of the Maya. It was an immersion in people and places of Yucatán and Quintana Roo, Colima, Merida and Querétaro; working in collaboration with artists, dancers and historians to experience and learn from Mexico's powerful dance tradition, past and present and sharing my dance tradition of the theater and technique of Martha Graham.
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Boca de las Piedras gathers images and rhythms from past and present, and creates a dance as passage of life in which we struggle to set ourselves apart, to define our individuality, through devotions to creativity, power or faith. In doing this we discover the need to return to the power of community, as inevitable as the passage through life and death.
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Una obra que recoge imágenes y ritmos del pasado de México y de su presente, para crear un ciclo de descubrimiento. El ciclo sigue a alguien que ha alcanzado el fondo y regresa para llevarnos al inicio. Una danza del pasaje de la vida dentro del cual buscamos definir nuestra individualidad a través de devociones de creatividad, fe o poder.

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Boca de las Piedras

Premiere May 20, 1999, Centro Nacional de las Artes, México

Choreography and Design
Christine Dakin

Music
Eduardo González

Costume Design
Jeffrey Wirsing

Costume Realization and Construction
Sergio Morales

Set Realization and Construction
Steve Mauer with Héctor Pérez Dorantes

Set Painting
Eduardo Lemus

Performed by
Raúl Almeida, Luis Arreguín, Beatriz Juan-Gil, Sergio Morales, Luis Martín Reséndiz Orlando Scheker, José Tobilla, Juan de Dios Torquemada, Jesús Tussi

(dancers of the Ballet Nacional de México, Director Guillermina Bravo)

La creación e investigación para esta obra fue patrocinada por El Fideicomiso para la Cultura México-Estados Unidos, un programa conjunto con del Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, la Fundación Cultural Bancomer y The Rockefeller Foundation, con colaboración de Ballet Nacional de México, Directora Guillermina Bravo; Instituto Cultura Yucatán, Director Jorge Ezma Bazan; Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Yucatán, Directora Graciella Torres Polanco y Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes de Universidad de Colima, Director Maestro Rafael Zamarripa.
Matlatemi, en pugno las piedras
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Matlatemi, en pugno las piedras is a synthesis of impressions and experiences from my time in Yucatán: the rocks, earth, sky, and water of the country, the people who live here, and the dance tradition which stretches back through many centuries to create the rich cultural brew. Through the centuries the relationship between woman and man has transformed, perhaps as a parallel to the relationship between the autochthonous people of Yucatán and the Spanish who came later. There is synthesis and there is conflict, there is love and hate. There is a confusion of identities which threatens us with chaos.
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Matlatemi: En pugno las piedras
(Matatena: Fistful of Stones)


Premiere: June 27, 2000 Teatro Peón Contreras, Mérida, México

Choreography and Design
Christine Dakin

Set and Curtain Design and Painting
Eduardo Lemus

Set Realization and Construction
Steve Mauer

Music
Carlos Gutierrez

Music Editing
Aldo Borsoní

Costume
Russell Vogler

Costume Construction
Ledy Torres

Lighting Design
Graciella Torres Polanco

Lighting effect
Emilio Vera

Performed by
Elena Ruiz, Erika Torres, Lourdes Magallanes, Nicolás Flores, David Torres, Fanny Ortíz, Cariño Cervantes, Rosalía Loeza


and apprentices
Leticia Sanchez, Luzelena Berumen, Ernesto Martínez

I thank scholars and friends Sr. Bermejo, Prof. Menalio Garrido and Mtro. Jorge Ezma Bazan for their generosity, sharing insights and knowledge which became an important part of my process of discovery and creation.

Matlatemi was created for the dancers of Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Yucatán, Director Mtra. Graciella Torres Polanco and supported by FONCA,( Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, México), Centro Estatal de Bellas Artes de Yucatán, Instituto de Cultura de Yucatán and the Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Yucatán, Director Mtra. Graciella Torres Polanco.
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This work I created as a solo with men's chorus, for friend and colleague Jaime Blanc at the Ballet Nacional. Uñas y Dientes is the struggle of a man at the edge of life, confronting his death. It is skull and flower, laugh and lament. Jaime Blanc, one of Mexico's most powerful dancers shows this struggle. Eduardo González's music is a single cry of the soul – of a cello, and a simple, man's voice.
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Uñas y Dientes muestra la lucha de un hombre viejo situado al margen de la vida para confrontarse con su próxima muerte. Es la calavera y la flor, la risa y el lamento. Jaime Blanc, uno de los más vigorosos bailarines de México, nos muestra esta lucha. La música compuesta por Eduardo González es una grita, la voz de la alma en cello, junto con voz sencillo de hombre.

Uñas y Dientes
(Tooth and Nail)


Premiere April 29, 2003, Centro Nacional de las Artes

Coreografía y Concepción Escénica
Christine Dakin

Música Origina
Eduardo González

Cellista
Maricela Lagunas

Canción Tradicional Interpretada
Ralph Stanley

Realización de Vestuario
Sergio Morales

Elaboración de materiales especiales de vestuario
Leticia Rayas – NaturArte

Iluminación
Jaime Blanc

Bailarines
Jaime Blanc
con
Sergio Morales, Tonatiuh Pérez y Héctor Dorantes.

(Dancers of the Ballet Nacional, Director, Guillermina Bravo)

La creación y producción de esta obra fue posible gracias al Fideicomiso para la Cultura México-Estados Unidos, un programa conjunto del Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA), la Fundación Cultural Bancomer y The Rockefeller Foundation en colaboración con el Ballet Nacional de México, directora: Guillermina Bravo; la Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Yucatán, directora: Graciella Torres Polanco, el Instituto de Bellas Artes de Yucatán y el Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Colima, director: Rafael Zamarripa.

Teaching, Performance

danz.fest, Cattolica, Italy
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danz.fest was organized by friend and colleague Maria Perchiazzi and her husband Mario Guaraldi, of Guaraldi Eventi. What a pleasure to help establish this festival, enjoy it as a meeting place to create, work, eat, in Cattolica, Italy. It is a great opportunity to bring together artists; Terese Capucilli, as well as Elena Albano, Elizabeth Bergmann and musicians Eduardo González and Pat Daugherty.
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Mario and Maria

The Festival was established as an international laboratory to explore and develop the creative arts of dance; bringing together for the first time the classical ballet of the Paris Opera, the contemporary technique of Martha Graham and the Butoh dance philosophy in a unique opportunity to learn and experience these great techniques as taught by masters of their art.

Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre
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Martha Graham at the Playhouse
I follow in the tradition of Martha Graham, who began dance for actors at the Playhouse at the invitation of Sanford Meisner. I loved hearing Martha talk about her time at the Playhouse. It is an honor to follow in her footsteps: to develop my own synthesis of Graham technique and theater/dance improvisation techniques in order to develop the actor's physical instrument; and to develop an organic and creative process for integrating movement with speaking/text.
Invernadero Danza
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The ambitious project of friend and student Rosario Ordoñez Fuentes in one of Mexico’s most exciting art/dance communities, Oaxaca City. Over the course of the year, Invernadero brings internationally known teachers from different dance techniques to Oaxaca for classes. Performing and teaching for Mexican friends, old generation and new, is a great pleasure for me. Classes in repertory, improvisation and special workshops bring together students and professionals. Music is central to the project with Eduardo González in 2010 playing and teaching Music for Dancers, in 2011 noted percussionist Shane Shanahan played for classes and gave a special performance with Oaxacan musicians. In 2010 with focus on photography and dance, I taught a workshop of improvisation and collaboration for dancers and photographers (Movimiento / Imágenes: Improvisaciones en vivo danza y fotografía) with photographer Shaul Schwarz directing a workshop for photo journalists. Shaul presented his own stunning and moving photography, and with his photographers participated in the Improvisation performance. This is a selection of the images from the presentation of the Improv work with photographers and dancers: slideshow
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With Rosario, and Invernadero supporter,
Oaxacan artist Ruben Leyva.
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Universidad de Colima, Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes
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The dancers I have worked with here since 1998 are fearless, committed and passionate. Their director, Maestro Rafael Zamarripa Castañeda is a truly renaissance man; large of heart and talent, a sculptor, designer, dancer, choreographer, director. His vision of dance, as broad as life, brings traditional Mexican dance and contemporary dance together.
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At his invitation I came as guest artist/ teacher, with a Rockefeller, Mexico /US Fund for Culture Grant, to work with his Ballet Folklórico and the contemporary company – Univerdanza. Co-directors of this company, Alejandro Avalos Vera and Adriana León and faculty Viviana Nava were all students I first taught at CENADAC. Their teaching, performing and choreography are inspiring another generation of Mexican dancers.

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Zamarripa's dancers, folkloric and contemporary, embrace the Graham work, and it has been marvelous to see how the work infuses their performing, their personal style. I fell in love with the people and the city, it is an honor to be a part of this Mexican dance community, to have made them part of my family. The company founded a children’s group, Niños de Colima, bringing to the next generation the folkloric dance of Maestro Zamarripa and the modern dance training I have shared with them.

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La Voz del Cuerpo would have remained a flicker in my dreams, but Maestro Zamarripa fell in love with the project and his support brought it to the University's University’s then Rector M.C. Aguayo López. All of us involved in making Voz are grateful for the University's support of the arts and the artists who make the art.

Maestro Zamarripa and the University hosted Encuentro Nacional de las Escuelas de Danza de Educación Superior Oct. 27-30, 2009

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with Rafael Zamarripa
inviting me to speak: Dakin, Graham y el Ballet de la Universidad de Colima, Las Bondades de la Técnica, and give a master class at this first conference of the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información de la Danza, CENIDI-Danza José Limón for University and Secondary school dance teachers, students and researchers. Director, Elizabeth Cámara and Maestro Zamarripa organized this meeting which proved to be important to building a community of dance professionals in Mexico's academic institutions.

Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporánea
And
Ballet Nacional de México
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The Ballet Nacional de Mexico, founded by Maestra Guillermina Bravo more than 50 years ago, led the birth of contemporary dance in that country and defined dance training there. Based in Mexico City for most of its life, the ballet moved to Querétaro, Qro. to expand and open its school CENADAC, the Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporánea. The company, closing only recently, was trained in an authentic Graham technique more rigorously and more uninterruptedly than almost anywhere else in the world. Maestra Bravo has insured that some of the most important of Martha's dancers and teachers have been guest teachers and the Graham technique is one of the foundations of the school's six year program. I followed friends Tim Wengerd and Kazuko Hirabayashi in working with the company and school.

I have worked with and toured with the company and taught at the school since 1993, making lifelong friends among the dancers, teachers and students many of whom now have their own companies and schools. Being a part of this Mexican contemporary dance tradition has been one of the most important personal and professional parts of my life. It was a privilege and luxury to choreograph two works for the company, working with the dancers and musician/composer intensely and over the course of years to develop the works, Boca de las Piedras (1999) and Uñas y Dientes (2003).

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At CENADAC the yearly International Summer Intensive course has drawn students and teachers of dance, theater and music from all over Mexico and the world. I teach technique and repertory, often bringing students from Italy and the United states with me to enjoy this special place for dance.

Kozlov International
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Sam and George Smallwood in
Robert Battle's Strange Humors
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Niños de Colima perform La Coulebra
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Niños de Colima in La Iguana

Leonid Kozlov is an old friend whose talent and artistic vision I have loved for several decades. Leonid has an extraordinary talent for teaching kids, and has turned his vast professional experience at the Bolshoi and at the New York City Ballet into an incomparable resource and inspiration for students at his school in New Jersey. In 2005 he began the Youth Dance Festival of New Jersey, a festival/competition where I have served as judge and teacher with Hector Zaraspe, Luigi, Carolyn Clark and Ravah Daley. Over the years, to bring the best of contemporary dance performance to the festival, I invited Helen Hansen from Buglisi Dance Theatre, Samuel Roberts of Battleworks/Ailey, Cedar Lake Dance, and musicians Geoffrey Armes and Pat Daugherty and Scott Morehouse to perform at the Festival. In 2011 Rafael Zamarripa's newly formed children's group, Niños de Colima delighted the Festival dancers and audience.

Leonid gives yearly holiday performances in Aruba, and has produced summer events such as the "Stars of American Dance" in which I performed and taught with Helen Hansen and Pat Daugherty.