Graham 2 - "Stones They Bare"

Graham 2 2024 Performance on Gansevoort Plaza
BY Meatpacking BIDPUBLISHED 04.18.2024

Introducing Virginie Mécène, Director and Choreographer, and Graham 2, the Martha Graham School's advanced company. Crafted around Gansevoort Plaza, their piece entitled "Stones They Bare" draws inspiration from the neighborhood's bustling energy. Collaborating with local businesses like Lucky Selectism, Sisley, and the Gansevoort, the performance goes beyond the cobbles, mixing fashion, beauty, and community to elevate the experience for the dancers and audience. Hear more from Virginie's exclusive interview with Meatpacking below:

Meatpacking (MTPK): What inspired you to create "Stones They Bare," and what themes or emotions does it explore?

Virginie Mécène (VM): The dance touches on young people's inner state as they navigate today's life infused by social media, virtual reality, and world crises. There is a contrast between the energetic joy and hopeful youth and the undercurrent of confusion.

MTPK: How did you select Meatpacking as the appropriate venue to debut this piece? What elements from the neighborhood inspired the piece?

VM: Gansevoort Plaza is a dynamic place where people walk by, sit at the outdoor tables for a quick lunch or an afternoon break, or meet with friends. The dance could be a scene at the Plaza.

MTPK: How does the partnership with Meatpacking businesses like Lucky Selectism and Sisley enhance the performance experience for the dancers and the audience?

VM: Heewon Kim, from Lucky Selectism, chose the clothing from his collection, Sisley's personnel chose the makeup look, and the Meatpacking team connected all the dots. Dedicated thoughts were put into it. These elements added texture to the dance itself and excitement to the dancers. Such a partnership invigorates the ties of the community and magnifies its strength and creativity. It brings the audience in as part of the whole scene.

Graham 2 walking from The Gansevoort Hotel to perform on Gansevoort Plaza

MTPK: Can you tell us about the choreographic elements or movements central to this piece?

VM: The movement's quality changes throughout the piece as it starts with broken, robotic movements that signify the repetition of everyday life, movements we do without being aware of, and broken and unthoughtful communication. The movements expand into slow motion, creating a different perspective and giving the viewer the effect of looking at it from afar and witnessing conflicting interactions. At other times, the broken gestures from the first section come back with a broader range of movements that become more supple, dancing on the music, moving on a more energetic bit in unison and cannon.

MTPK: Are there any particular challenges or highlights you encountered while preparing this piece for its premiere?

VM: The highlights include the partnership with the Meatpacking District, Lucky Selectism, Sisley, and the hospitality of Gansevoort Hotel.

The challenge of performing outdoors is always the weather; we hope it will cope with us, at least on the performance day. We were planning on doing a run-through with costumes onsite on Friday. Still, in anticipation of a rainy day, we did the run-through earlier during the week without the "costumes," which prevented us from taking pictures before the show, as we were able to do last year. On Friday, Heewon Li from Lucky Selectism saved the day by bringing the clothing to our Martha Graham studios at Westbeth, 55 Bethune Street so that the dancers could rehearse with them.

Dancing outdoors on the concrete dictates the overall movements of the dance. I wouldn't have the dancers roll on the floor like we frequently do in contemporary dance or jumps. So, the venue shapes the dance in some ways.

The day of the performance was very windy and not very warm. Still, the dancers managed to dance through the wind, captivating the audience's attention throughout the dance.

MTPK: How do you see this performance contributing to the artistic and cultural scene in Meatpacking and beyond? 

VM: It will demonstrate community ties, openness, contributions, collaborations, and the life-enhancement of partnerships.

MTPK: What do you hope audiences will take away from experiencing "Stones They Bare" at Meatpacking Red Umbrella Day?

VM: Although the dance's synopsis bears some weight, I want the audience to enjoy the dancing and the energy the dancers offer on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the Return of the Red Umbrellas event on Gansevoort Plaza. I also hope that it will inspire them to rush and buy their tickets to see the Martha Graham Dance Company's New York Season at New York City Center - April 17-20, as well as to mark their calendar to see the Graham 2 New York Season in the neighborhood from June 6-8, at the Martha Graham Studio Theater, at Westbeth, 55 Bethune Street.

MTPK: What's next for "Stones They Bare"?

VM: A section of the dance will be performed for another community event right around the corner, at The Westfest Dance Festival on April 27 and 28.




Media Inquiries



Terms of service

Privacy policy