In late April, the Martha Graham Dance Company debuted its reconstructed Rite of Spring at Carolina Performing Arts, as part of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s “The Rite of Spring At One Hundred” celebration. The production’s new digital set design incorporated a spectacular projected background enabled by Dataton WATCHOUTTM multi-display production and playback software and Show Sage WATCH*Computers, all donated to the Company by Show Sage.
It marked the Company’s first performance of Graham’s masterpiece in nearly two decades, and also marked a major milestone in the Company’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Late last year, the Company suffered devastating losses when the storm flooded the Company’s basement warehouse in the West Village in New York City, leaving its collection of sets, costumes, and artifacts – collected over eighty years and valued at $4 million, and including the original set and costumes for Rite – immersed in water and waste for days. Facing significant losses, the Company immediately established a recovery fund and sought partners to help it rebuild and prepare for its 2013 New York Season and touring commitments.
"Show Sage came to our rescue," said Janet Eilber, Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Center. "We lost so many of our production elements in Superstorm Sandy, we thought it would be impossible to perform Martha Graham's Rite of Spring for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Stravinsky music. Show Sage provided state of the art equipment that allowed us to create an amazing new virtual environment for this Graham masterpiece. We not only reclaimed a timeless work of art, but we brought it into the 21st Century. There's no way we could have achieved this without the generous contribution of Jim Testa and Show Sage."
The effort of creating a new concept for the set and production design was led by noted projection designer and lecturer Wendall Harrington and graduate students from Yale University School of Drama. The WATCHOUT programming for the performance was overseen by projection designer Erik Pearson.
“The perseverance of the Martha Graham Dance Company to continue with the production of Rite of Spring in the wake of the devastating damage caused by Sandy is truly amazing,” noted Jim Testa, president of Show Sage. “We were honored to learn that Wendall Harrington’s vision for the new set design included WATCHOUT and were excited by the opportunity to help the Company in the successful remounting of such an iconic piece of performance art.”
The Martha Graham Dance Company next will perform Rite of Spring at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, August 21-25, 2013. The New York Premiere will take place in early 2014.