Seeking the answer to seemingly simple questions, “What are you thinking?” or “What are you feeling?” the Martha Graham Dance Company urges dance enthusiasts to join the online contest, “On the Couch: An Inner Monologue.” The contests features two members of the company in dance wear online.
The dance company’s website already posted two videos showing a man and a woman respectively, portraying patients undergoing therapy. These two videos serve as a jump off point for aspiring participants who may or may not ever have donned dance wear for kids when they were young.
Entrants are expected to make a video, or psychodrama, showing their emotional reaction to the said dance videos. The two performers in dancer wear are performing through a range of emotions that contestants must respond to in text or dialogue on video.
After downloading each of the clips running up to three minutes, participants should add text, dialogue or voiceover interpreting the dancer’s feelings and thoughts. The text or caption should begin with the sentence prompt, “Doctor, it’s happening again.”
Tadej Brdnik, principal dancer at the Martha Graham Dance Company, says that the contestants’ text input can be either deeply personal or as broad as topics such as world war. Brdnik who directs the contest is one of the performers in the videos. Contestants must also incorporate anywhere in the video the quote, “Movement never lies,” words which came from Martha Graham herself.
The contest encourages not only therapy but also entices dormant dance lovers to slip into their dance tops, dancers leg warmers, or whatever they’re comfortable in and finally take up dancing. The Martha Graham Company hopes that the interactive videos will draw new audience to their performances.
Janet Eilber, the company’s artistic director and the force behind “On the Couch: An Inner Monologue,” describes the company as a leader in steering the modern dance world in finding new ways to reach out to new audiences.
“On the Couch” is considered a playful addition to the company theme this season called “Inner Landscape,” which portrays the American choreographer exploring the human psyche and its permutations in a variety of movement and dance.
The winning entry will be featured in one of the company’s performances in New Year in March. A $500 cash prize will also be awarded. Second place and third place winner will also win the privilege of having their works shown during the company’s performances, along with $300 and $200 cash prizes respectively.
Deadline for submitting entries is Feb. 15.
The judging panel will be composed of experts in the fields of music, creative writing, psychology, media and dance.
Brdnik says that the competition is a sort of reverse rehearsal process, as they begin with dance and build the interior lives of the characters afterward. He also hopes Graham’s enduring influence in all over the world is presented through the contest in an engaging, novel way.
The oldest dance company in the world, the company is a part of the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance founded in 1926 by Martha Graham. Graham died in 1991.
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