Graham in the Schools

The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance offers a range of programs that allow students in New York City schools to explore movement and dance. For additional information about any of the programs listed below, contact Tami Alesson, director of education, at 212-838-5886 ext. 202 or talesson@marthagraham.org.

Movement Workshops for K-6 Students: These workshops explore elements of dance, the unique ways in which the body expresses itself, and features curricular themes chosen collaboratively by teaching artists and classroom teachers. Participating students are introduced to four art standards: creating and performing, knowing and using arts materials, responding to and analyzing works, and understanding the cultural contributions of the arts. This approach is particularly valuable for students who learn differently and those who come from families in which English is not the primary language.

Expression of Emotion Through the Art of Dance: This workshop, designed for 25 students, introduces the unique contributions of Martha Graham and the power of movement to express emotion. Two dances from the Graham repertory—Lamentation and a second dance, such as Satryic Festival Song—are performed by dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company. Students are encouraged to respond to what they see, analyze different dance elements and relate the experience to their own lives. In the interactive portion of the workshop, students are provided with elastic tubes, similar to those used in Lamentation, and encouraged to explore the power of their own bodies to express emotion.

This residency can be done as a single session or may be expanded into three or four workshops. In the longer residency, this first session is followed by three more sessions that culminate in the production of short movement studies performed by the students for their peers.

Graham 2 Lecture-Demonstrations: Graham 2 is available to perform lecture-demonstrations for public and private school students throughout the New York City area. Students learn about the art of modern dance and the work of Martha Graham. In addition to providing a historical perspective, the presentation introduces students to basic elements of Graham technique and explores the role of emotional expression in her work. Concepts central to Graham technique, such as contraction and release and spiral, are described as members of Graham 2 perform these techniques. Excerpts from the Graham repertory are also performed. For more information on Graham 2 Lecture-Demonstrations, contact lec_dem@marthagraham.org.

School Partnership Program: Offers middle schools and high schools in New York City the opportunity to enhance their modern dance curriculum with the Martha Graham Technique, and integrate Graham into their curriculum in compliance with the New York State Learning Standards for the Art and the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning the Arts. The Martha Graham School has served as a professional development facilitator (Grade 12) for the Blueprint, which is used by schools throughout New York State.

Program components can include:

  • Planning sessions to determine artistic and academic goals
  • Classroom teaching by trained teaching artists
  • Program-appropriate field trips
  • Program assessment
  • Internships
  • Performances for friends, family, and invited guests
  • Professional development
  • Attendance at open rehearsals or performances by the Martha Graham Company and Graham 2

We are currently partnering with Talent Unlimited High School, Bronx Dance Academy, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, and the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts.