Ryan Hatch, a BYU dance major, talks about his gratitude for the Department of Dance and his training with the Martha Graham Intensive.
The Martha Graham Intensive is a three-week experiential learning program that teaches the Martha Graham technique and composition to select dance students throughout the United States. The intensive is renowned throughout the United States, and BYU’s dance students were lucky enough to participate in it during the summer of 2017.
“It’s a big honor that BYU was chosen to have this intensive come here, because it was such a great experience,” said Ryan Hatch, a senior majoring in dance who got to participate in the intensive. “Marilyn Berrett, the former chair of the Department of Dance, put in a lot of work to get this here. It was a great experience for all of us dance majors that were able to participate.”
As stated by the company’s website, the Martha Graham Dance Company has been “a world leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926.” Graham, the choreographer and dancer who founded the company, is the creator of the company’s technique, a distinctive method and style of dance.
“It’s a modern dance style, and it was one of the first modern techniques, so it’s just a step away from ballet,” said Hatch. “It very much has to do with your core and the internal working of breath.”
Dance students had to maintain a rigorous schedule of classes to learn the techniques and methods involved in the Intensive. “We were here from 10 am – 6:30 pm and we started with a two-hour technique class,” said Hatch. “Then we had a little break, then a two-hour composition class where they would teach us some of the structure Martha Graham used to choreograph some of her pieces. Then we had a rehearsal block where they auditioned us and chose some of us for a Martha Graham piece that’s will be premiered in the Contemporary Dance Theatre show in February 2019.”
“It’s such a detail-oriented style and I think it takes a long time to build up that technique, so working on that every day, it was great to see the progress that was made there,” Hatch said.
Hatch described the long-term benefits of the intensive, saying, “I think it’s going to help all of our careers, having this technique. It‘s definitely a great resume builder as well, just because it is such a big name. So, when applying to grad school and big companies, they’ll see that, and it’s pretty impressive.”
dancEnsemble’s concerts will take place at the Dance Studio Theatre at the Richards Building on November 9th and 10th at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on the 10th. Tickets can be purchased here.