From the very beginning of the Martha Graham Dance Company’s three-week season at City Center in October, the Graham phenomenon threatened to overshadow the art. At ninety-three, Martha Graham contains within herself the entire history of one of the few truly indigenous American art forms. Apart from a few years in the early Seventies, following her belated and personally traumatic retirement as a performer, she has always been around; and if her controversial new fundraising scheme works—bypassing the National Endowment for the Arts and appealing directly to Congress for a four-million-dollar, one-time appropriation—she always will be.

Yet it is fashionable among a certain sector of the dance-critical community to act as if Graham and company no longer exist. These critics began to show their disdain in the late Seventies by attending performances and complaining about them in print;...


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