Martha Graham and Woman does not exist

5 December 2012 | , , ,

I am in Brooklyn for a week, as part of my work with the Transart Institute. I arrived on Sunday and will stay for a week. So far, I have conducted 12 student critiques (we have 6 per day), but being in this city makes me want to fill in every little gap in time I have. On Monday, I took an open class with the Martha Graham company in their new studios on 55 Bethune Street. The stress of getting there from Brooklyn – as I am too used to the Glasgow subway system with its 15 circular stops – was soon evaporated by the welcoming atmosphere and the class itself. It was classic Graham technique sped up, with exercises I am used to doing separately meshed together in one. We start with bounces and straight into contractions and spirals, twisted pliés and high tilts. Even turns around the back go that bit further, but that might be my jet lag. We finish with jumped contractions, something I was not sure was possible. The whole class, I am distracted by the beautiful movement of the dancer-teacher and the pianist. Although the view competes too.


The studio is beautiful and I feel just so fantastic after it, I leap back to Brooklyn to have my Wonton soup.

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On Tuesday, I am considering going again but it would mean missing the last critique and, although I am told that is ok, I don’t want to let the student down. At lunch, I receive a reminder for one of their seminars. I always read them with attention but it never occurred to me I could go. Now I could. So after 6 crits and a two hour meeting I cross town to NYU to talk about the 6th chapter of Seminar XX, Encore. Or, more like it, to hear the marvellously compelling Josefina Ayerza, editor of my favourite journal Lacanian Ink, talk about it.


It is a shame I am too shy to take a picture of the seminar and of Josefina. She is quite a lady. I loved her styling, her accessorising (she had a amazing yellow futuristic bag and the latest gadgets she did not know how to operate). Nancy Barton, host for the event, wore the most glittery over-the-top glasses in sympathy, so you get the picture. A Lacanian Rocky Horror Picture Show? Maybe, shame the rest were tame in their suits. I think that is what put me off taking a picture. Josefina might have liked it.

The seminar was good, if hard work, given that we discussed Woman’s jouissance and the four discourses. The morning after, I feel something of a text I never really got has sunk in. Yet, I could not help to feel frustrated by the questions on a discourse of the artwork and the evasion of answers. If only I had been less tired. I left 15 minutes early, drained rather than elated, but the reason for that was not the seminar, rather Lacan and his enjoyment-suffering.

I leave here, instead of the image I wanted to take, a substitute for the missing signifier.


3 thoughts on “Martha Graham and Woman does not exist

  1. I just thought you would like to know that as soon as I started reading your sentence referencing the Rocky Horror Picture Show the Time Warp came on my iTunes playlist, which is set to random holiday music…unconscious connection? Strange indeed.

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