The Martha Graham Dance Company held its first performance at the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge on Saturday, April 18.
A limited amount of dance students were invited to participate in a master class on Friday, April 17, held by the Graham Dance Company. These select few participants included students from Pierce College and CSUN.
Pierce College Dance Adjunct, Bonnie Lavin-Hughes, believed that her students were fortunate to participate in the event.
“This was a special invitation to a small number of Pierce students. The students had to be advanced in their level of dance. I gathered four participants and four observers for the occasion,” said Hughes.
In addition, the selected students were invited to stay on and audition for the training ground company.
“They had to have their resume and their stuff in order. The audition lasted until very late last night. It was a closed audition and the students said it was pretty amazing,” Hughes said.
Participants were able to attend the performance held by the Martha Graham Dance Company for a discounted price of $15.
Director of Marketing at the Valley Performing Arts Center, Marivi Valcourt, enjoyed the variety of classic dance routines combined with updated versions for the modern audience.
“I thought tonight’s performance was stellar. It was interesting that they took a piece that was over 25-30 years old and mixed it up,” said Valcourt. “Right after ‘Appalachian Spring’ they performed ‘Lamentation Variations,’ which was great. They mixed up the old and the new and I think that really thrilled the audience.”
Jenessa Reyes, a CSUN student and audience member, felt that the performance opened her eyes to the world of dance.
“This is my first dance performance that i’ve attended. Just the way that the dancers move and express their identity through their performance is inspiring. I’ve never appreciated dance as much as I do now,” said Reyes.
Professional Dancer, Ari Mayzick, performed in three of the dances, entitled “Keigwin,” Lamentation Variations,” and “Echo.”
Despite the hard work that was put into the performance, Mayzick felt that his dedication paid off.
“There were lots of rehearsals. Probably two weeks of rehearsal just for this tour. Many hours spent at the gym, class, and of course mental preparation,” Mayzick said. “Overall I feel amazing. The show is always like a high. We had a great theater, great space, the dressing rooms were amazing and the audience was great.”
Mayzick joined the company when he was 21 years old. After a 10-year hiatus, he decided to come back. A dancer for most of his life, there is nowhere else he would rather be than performing in front of an audience.
“You get taken away to another world when you’re onstage. You become free,” said Mayzick.