The American Dance Festival (ADF) will award distinguished choreographer and director Martha Clarke with the 2010 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the most important lifetime award for choreographers. Established in 1981 by Samuel H. Scripps, the annual award honors choreographers who have dedicated their lives and talent to the creation of modern dance. The $50,000 award will be presented to Ms. Clarke in a special ceremony on Sunday, June 27th at 7:30pm at The Cotton Room at Golden Belt in downtown Durham. Academy and Tony Award-winning screenwriter, and playwright Alfred Uhry will present the award.
As part of the ADF’s season of What is Dance Theatre?, Ms. Clarke and Mr. Uhry will present a highly-anticipated ADF-commissioned work based on the Shakers onstage at Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University July 5-7. Inspired by the life of Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement, this new work will weave together theater, song, and dance to present the contradiction between the prim prudery of Shaker tenets and the wild, sexual nature they suppressed. The award ceremony program will include a partial preview of the new work.
Martha Clarke is lauded the world over for her highly original, multidisciplinary approach to dance, theater, and opera productions. An early member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and founder of Crowsnest (now Spring Lake Productions), Martha Clarke has choreographed for such dance titans as Nederlans Dance Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, and The Martha Graham Company, among many others. After a four-week residency in 2007, Martha Clarke’s ADF-commissioned re-envisioning of Garden of Earthly Delights opened the ADF’s 30th anniversary season in Durham. The work later appeared Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City and was met with critical acclaim. The New York Times exclaimed, “…this singular work of dance theater is without doubt one of the most eerily hypnotic spectacles of flesh in motion ever put on a New York stage.”
As a director, Ms. Clarke’s many original productions include Vienna: Lusthaus, Miracolo d’amore, Endangered Species, An Uncertain Hour, The Hunger Artist, and Vers la flamme. She directed the premiere of Christopher Hampton’s Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Royal National Theatre in London. In opera, Ms. Clarke has directed The Magic Flute for Glimmerglass Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Cosi fan tutte for Glimmerglass Opera, Tan Dun’s Marco Polo for the Munich Biennale, the Hong Kong Festival, and New York City Opera, and Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice for the English National Opera and the New York City Opera. She directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the American Repertory Theater and a new music/theater work, Belle Epoque, based on the life of Toulouse Lautrec, at Lincoln Center Theater. Ms. Clarke’s Kaos, an evening of adapted Pirandello short stories, was presented at New York Theater Workshop.
Ms. Clarke first studied dance at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She later participated in the dance program at The Juilliard School under the direction of Anna Sokolow and Anthony Tudor, prior to performing with Ms. Sokolow for three years. She has been the subject of a film for PBS, Martha Clarke: Light and Dark and has received numerous awards including a MacArthur “Genius” Award, a Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards, a Los Angeles Critics Circle Award.
Past recipients of the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award include Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais, Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey, Erick Hawkins, Twyla Tharp, Anna Sokolow, Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, Trisha Brown, Meredith Monk, Anna Halprin, Fayard and Harold Nicholas, Pina Bausch, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Garth Fagan, Maguy Marin, Eiko and Koma, Bill T. Jones, Murray Louis, Mark Morris, Laura Dean, Ohad Naharin, and posthumously in honor of Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, José Limón, Pearl Primus, and Helen Tamiris.
Performances during the ADF’s 77th season will be presented at the Durham Performing Arts Center and Duke University’s Reynolds Industries Theater from June 10 – July 24, 2010. For detailed information about the 2010 Festival, the ADF School, community programs, and ticketing, please visit www.americandancefestival.org. Individuals may learn more about the Festival by becoming a fan on Facebook and/or following the ADF on Twitter.
Founded in 1934 in Bennington, Vermont, the ADF remains an international magnet for choreographers, dancers, teachers, students, critics, musicians, and scholars to learn and create in a supportive environment. ADF’s wide range of programs include performances, artist services, humanities projects, publications, community outreach, educational programs and classes, archives, media projects, and national and international projects. The ADF has been presenting the best in modern dance for 77 years. www.americandancefestival.org