Martha Graham Dance Company Launches 'On the Couch' Online Video Competition

Tadej Brdnik Martha Graham Dance Company 2011
The Martha Graham Dance Company

The modern dance company takes a page from today's popular reality talent shows with contest that enlists panel of expert judges, including award-winning playwright Mark St. Germain, to choose top entry that will be featured during the group's New York Season performances next year.

The world-renown Martha Graham Dance Company has launched an online video contest, “The On the Couch: An Inner Monologue Competition,” in which the winner will receive $500 and have his or her video premiere during its New York Season performances in March 2012.

"The Graham Company is leading the world of modern dance in experimenting with innovative ways to connect with new audiences," The Company’s Artistic Director and creator of “On The Couch,” Janet Eilber, says.

"Releasing historic masterpieces to be reinterpreted using the latest in technology leverages our legacy of innovation by adding new points of access for audiences worldwide."

The “On the Couch: An Inner Monologue Competition” is part of the Company’s “Inner Landscape” theme for the season. It asks contestants to download a three-minute video of a dancer who begins and ends his solo performance on a couch and expresses a series of emotions in the choreography.

Entrants should add voice-over or text to the video that reveals the character's thoughts beginning with the sentence, "Doctor, it's happening again." Graham's legendary quote, "Movement never lies," must also be used somewhere within the video.

"Dancers in the Graham Company are constantly inventing the interior life of the characters they dance," Principal Dancer, video contest coordinator, and performer of the “On the Couch” solo, Tadej Brdnik, says. "Through ‘On the Couch,’ we are opening this process to artists of all kinds -- inviting them to create new psychological interpretations of this short Graham solo.”

A panel of experts in psychology, dance, music, creative writing and media will select winners based on creativity and overall enhancement of the original video clips. Judges will include award winning playwright and author of Freud's Last Session, Mark St. Germain and psychoanalyst, musician and chair of Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Music for the American Psychoanalytic Association, Julie Jaffe Nagel, among others.

Aside from the winner, there will also be second and third place winners who will receive $300 and $200, respectively. All three winners will be promoted widely -- particularly in connection with performances of the Inner Landscape theme.

For more information and to enter the contest, visit the contest website.