Coyote Dancers to Pay Tribute to Dudley Williams, 10/23-25
Maher Benham and Coyote Dancers announce three evenings of works choreographed by Ms. Benham, and dedicated to her company's beloved teacher, mentor, and friend Dudley Williams (1938-2015). The evening will feature the world premiere of Ms. Benham's "A Song for Dudley," along with Coyote repertory works, including "Eight for Martha," dedicated to Martha Graham, October 23-25 at the Martha Graham Studio Theatre. The Coyote resident ensemble of 16 dancers will be joined by distinguished guests Carlos Fittante, Lucy Postell, Jon Warren (musician), and Deborah Zall. Presented by Maher Benham and Coyote Dancers in collaboration with Deborah Zall and Classic Contemporary Dance Heritage, Ltd.
A highlight of the evening will be the premiere of "Song for Dudley," in honor and memory of Dudley Williams. Music is composed and will be performed live by percussionist Jon Warren, joined by vocalist Henry Holmes performing excerpts from spirituals. The full company will join dancer Harold Trent Butler, who will portray Dudley Williams.
Also receiving its premiere performance is "Amrutha," a dance for an ensemble of 13, set to Hayden Wayne's Hard Rock Symphony. The contemporary American composer Wayne is known for combining classical music with popular idioms. His versatility ranges from composing operas and symphonies to film scores and TV commercials.
From the repertory is Benham's acclaimed duet "Waltz Cavern Unto Light," set to music by Howard Hanson, and the choreographer's tribute to Martha Graham, her "Eight for Martha," first performed last year on the anniversary of Graham's birth (May 11, 1894). The work is set to music by Bach along with an original score by Unyha Moh.
Guest choreographer Carlos Fittante, will dance his signature solo "Amantes," a masked solo of mourning.
Maher Benham is founder and director of Coyote Dancers. The Company gave its debut performance at the Festival de Musique on St. Barthmelemy's Island in 1993 and has since appeared in many NYC venues, garnering praise for its highly theatrical and deeply spiritual dances. The large ensemble has also been joined in the past by guests Stuart Hodes, Dudley Williams, Gus Solomons jr, Daniel Mahoney, David Chase, Steve Rooks and Maxine Sherman. Maher herself has danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company and the groups of Pearl Lang, Daniel Maloney, Kenneth King, Cornfield Dance and Balinese American Fusion Dance Company.
As a teacher, Maher has been a faculty member of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance since 1985, where she has taught not only the company and adult professionals, but the children as well. Her unique and creative teaching received high praise from Ms. Graham, who personally authorized her to teach the Graham Technique anywhere in the world in her name. Benham is also a faculty member at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance and has taught at Marymount Manhattan College, Ballet Hispanico, the Pratt Institute, and the Neighborhood Playhouse, where she taught the Movement for Actors course which Martha Graham instituted in 1928 and continued until 1968. In addition, Benham is a certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher and has taught yoga and meditation both privately and to groups.
In 2003, Maher established The Hummingbirds Institute, the first studio of dance, yoga and music designed exclusively for people with special needs. She is also in the process of making the film "Listen to Your Bloodbeat: Martha Graham Remembered."