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Martha Graham Center rebuilds after Hurricane Sandy

November 15, 2012

“I run best on a muddy track.”

Martha Graham

All of us at the Martha Graham Center stand in solidarity with our friends who have felt the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Here in our new Westbeth home in the West Village, we are surrounded by residents who lived without water, power or heat for nearly two weeks. We know that this scene is replicated around the region as families cope with devastating loss.

Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director Janet Eilber examined flood-damaged costumes Nov. 12, 2012 in the company’s basement storage. The water did an estimated $4 million in damage.

The Martha Graham Dance Company took a direct hit. Our historic collection of sets, costumes, and artifacts, gathered over eight decades and valued at $4 million, was immersed for six days when Sandy swept into our basement warehouse, blowing out doors and knocking down walls. There were hundreds of costumes along with Isamu Noguchi sets for such masterpieces as Night Journey, Cave of the Heart, and Errand into the Maze stored in the basement. Some of these costumes were seen on the stage only days before the storm landed.

This set by acclaimed designer Isamu Noguchi, used in Martha Graham’s ‘Embattled Garden,’ was damaged when basement storage of the Martha Graham Dance Company, located in the West Village, flooded in late October 2012. The company said it is still assessing the extent of the damage.

Now we begin the massive task of rebuilding. With help from volunteer conservators who have been on site to advise us, we are rescuing precious costumes designed and even in some cases worn by Martha. From the original Noguchi sets for Clytemnestra to a hundred or so Panorama costumes created for our public high school partners, we are in the process of determining the best restoration plan for each piece in the collection.

This set by acclaimed designer Isamu Noguchi, used in Martha Graham’s ‘Embattled Garden,’ was damaged when basement storage of the Martha Graham Dance Company, located in the West Village, flooded in late October 2012. The company said it is still assessing the extent of the damage.

This is a tremendous undertaking, but with the Graham community at our side, we are making remarkable progress. We have established the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund for the Martha Graham Dance Company, and we invite you to join our efforts and to share our story. With your help, we will reclaim, restore or recreate every object central to the Graham legacy and our future.

For their part, the dancers won’t miss a beat. Inspired by Martha’s fierce determination, they are focused on upcoming performances in Italy, Michigan, North Carolina, and New York City.

With great hope for the future,

LaRue Allen                            Janet Eilber

Executive Director                  Artistic Director

Donate now to the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund

Watch Artistic Director Janet Eilber speak about

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