American Dance Guild Festival to Honor Jean Erdman at 92Y This October

The American Dance Guild Fall Performance Festival will return October 14-16 to the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, 1395 Lexington Avenue, NYC, in a weekend tribute to legendary modern dancer, choreographer and avant-garde theater director Jean Erdman in honor of her centenary. Jean Erdman explored archetypal themes in dance and theater in collaboration with her husband, mythologist Joseph Campbell, forming one of the dance world's most inspiring artistic relationships.

Twenty-four dance pieces will be shown over the three-day ADG Festival, in collaboration with 92Y Fridays at Noon, 92Y DIG DANCE - Weekend Series and Jean Erdman Dance. The ADG Festival will kick off the Guild's yearlong 60th anniversary celebration.

The ADG weekend showcase will include a multi-disciplinary program of rare dance works, contemporary performances and archival footage. The program will begin with 92Y Fridays at Noon "Myth and Modern Dance" (Friday, October 14 at 12PM) with artists, designers and educators who worked with Erdman over six decades in a panel discussion exploring the idea of the mythic dimension. Select performances will spark the conversation, including a special guest appearance by former Graham principal dancer Christine Dakin in a reconstruction of Jean Erdman's "The Transformations of Medusa." Dakin's performance will repeat on Friday and Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon.

The Fridays at Noon program ushers in the three-day Dig Dance/ADG Festival "Dance and Myth," Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15 at 8pm, and Sunday afternoon at 3pm. *Program details below.

"We are pleased to initiate our celebration of the American Dance Guild's 60th year at the 92nd Street Y, where the Guild was conceived in 1956 by dance educators dedicated to promoting the development of American Modern Dance as an art form," said Gloria McLean, president of the American Dance Guild. "Jean Erdman was an early and lifetime member of the Guild. In 1986 she was honored with an ADG Award for Arts in Collaboration.

"The theme Myth and Modern Dance has evoked a lively response from the dance community, and we anticipate an exciting event, the highlight of our 2016 season," she said.

"FRIDAYS AT NOON" - "Myth and Modern Dance"
Tickets - Fridays at Noon tickets are $10 online or in advance at the 92Y Box Office in the lobby /$15 at the 92Y Box Office on the day of the performance.
Phone: 212-415-5500

The American Dance Guild Festival '16 weekend tribute to Jean Erdman will begin with "Fridays at Noon" on Friday, October 14 at 12pm. The program invites the audience to ponder the question "What do we mean by the mythic dimension?" opening with a hula blessing honoring Ms. Erdman's Hawaiian roots and highlighting two of her works: the rarely seen 1942 solo "The Transformations of Medusa" performed by Christine Dakin, former Graham principal dancer and Festival special guest artist (repeated Fri-Sun); and the 1946 solo "Passage" performed by Miki Orihara, also a former Graham principal. Also featured is an excerpt from "Diagnosis of a Faun" by Tamar Rogoff who was deeply influenced by Erdman and Campbell. It concludes with a panel discussion led by Nancy Allison, Artistic Director of Jean Erdman Dance who directed the reconstructions, and includes Gladys Bailin, who assisted Erdman in establishing the original NYU School of the Arts Dance Program; Dr. Miriam Berger, Director, 92Y Harkness Dance Center Dance Therapy Program; Diana Byer, Artistic Director, New York Theater Ballet; designer and director, Ralph Lee; choreographers Tamar Rogoff and Laurel Jenkins; and RoBert Walter, President of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, all of whom participated in Ms. Erdman's work over six decades.

The documentary, "Dancing with Jean Erdman," will be shown in the lobby at 11:30am, one half hour prior to Friday, Oct. 14 "Fridays at Noon."

DIG DANCE - Weekend Series
"Dance and Myth: American Dance Guild honors Jean Erdman at 100"
Tickets - from $20.
Phone: 212-415-5500

The American Dance Guild Fall Festival, Dance and Myth, features: Jean Erdman's rarely seen 1942 solo The Transformations of Medusa (commissioned score by Louis Horst, played live by pianist Amir Khosrowpour) performed by special guest artist Christine Dakin on each program; a stage-to-screen adaptation of Erdman's 1948 work, Hamadryad, by Nancy Allison and Paul Allman featuring Miki Orihara; Gloria McLean in a rare performance of ERick Hawkins' Sun Setting from his master work Black Lake; Jose Limon's Maenad performed by Limon company member Ryoko Kudo; plus selected new contemporary works inspired by myth, including an excerpt from Diagnosis of a Faun by Tamar Rogoff, and Witches Disco, an excerpt from IMAGE, ACTION, TEXT by former Trisha Brown dancer Laurel Jenkins, recipient of the 2015 Opus Archives' Joseph Campbell/Jean Erdman Marriage of Mythology and Dance Scholarship. Twenty-four works will be shown over the three-day Festival weekend.

The documentary, "Dancing with Jean Erdman," will be shown in the lobby one half hour prior to each show (Fri & Sat. at 7:30pm; Sun at 2:30)

1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128
(Lexington Avenue at 92nd St)

The American Dance Guild has served the dance field in many capacities over the past 60 years, including sponsoring conferences, festivals & publications. Festival 2016 continues the Guild tradition of bringing together artists from across the nation and internationally for performances and master classes. ADG offers performance opportunities that range from gala productions to bare-bones choreography showcases. In June 2014, ADG participated in Jacob's Pillow's Inside/Out program. In addition, ADG sponsors an annual Student Scholarship for summer study at Jacob's Pillow, and provides scholarly resources through its New Dance Group Gala Video and its publications such as Branching Out: Oral Histories of Six National Dance Organizations and Dance Scope. Read more at

Jean Erdman made a significant contribution to American arts as a dancer, choreographer and avant-garde theater director. Beginning with her work as a principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1938-42 in which she originated many roles in Graham's groundbreaking repertory of that time, Erdman established herself as a leading artist of the post-pioneering period of American modern dance. In 1962 her production, The Coach with the Six Insides, an adaptation of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, captivated the New York Theater world winning OBIE and Vernon Rice Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Off-Broadway Theater before taking off on a world tour including engagements in Italy at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds and in Dublin, Tokyo and Paris.Her 1971 Tony-nominated choreography for Joseph Papp's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, Lincoln Center production of Jean Giradoux's The Enchanted, along with the more than fifty dances and total-theater works she choreographed for her company all demonstrate her sensitive musicality and the intricate blending of world dance and theater styles that is the hallmark of her aesthetic vision.

Erdman's early dance training in Hawaii in the first part of the 20th century included ancient hula, tap and Isadora Duncan technique. As a student at Sarah Lawrence College she encountered the two other major influences of her life: Martha Graham and the scholar, Joseph Campbell. In 1938 she marriEd Campbell and began rehearsals with the Graham Company the following day. Throughout her career she continued to study and champion world dance both as a source of individual creativity and an important expression of the human spirit. Her guiding belief that a choreographer should create for each new dance a style of movement intrinsic to its subject led her to develop a varied and exciting repertory, collaborating with some of the most innovative artists of the time, including Louis Horst, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Merce Cunningham and Maya Deren. Her deep, creative interchange with Campbell, contributed to the embrace of the mythological dimension in her work. This coupled with her widely recognized genius for distilling human experience into abstract form give her work a particularly poetic and enduring quality.

Pictured: Jean Erdman teaching master class in Tokyo, 1954 - photo Nippon Times; Jean Erdman in Creature on a Journey, Photo by Daniel Entin.


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