posted April 6, 2005

Joffrey Ballet to Present Hope Prof's Work

Hope dance faculty member Linda Graham's dance "Chair Study - Part I" is finding a new home in the Outreach/Education program of the famous Joffrey Ballet, based in Chicago, Ill.

Originally choreographed for Aerial Dance Theater in 1989, the popular dance was performed in the repertory of Aerial for 10 years, during which time it was also performed by the Grand Rapids Ballet under the direction of Charthelle Arthur. When Arthur became Ballet Mistress for the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, she recalled the success of "Chair Study" as she and her colleagues planned the Joffrey Outreach program, and subsequently contacted Graham about setting the piece on Joffrey. Graham will be going to Chicago during the week of April 12 to work with the company.

Graham is a professor of dance at Hope, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1983. She co-founded Aerial Dance Theater, which is an affiliate of the college's department of dance, in 1986 with Kate McGory and the late Judith Brooky-Green, and served as the company's artistic director or co-artistic director until 2004.

She has choreographed and had works in the repertoires of several companies in addition to the Joffrey Ballet and the Grand Rapids Ballet, including the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Contemporary Motions, and has also had choreography produced in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and France. She won the "Maggie Allesee New Choreography Award" from the Michigan Dance Council in 2000 for her work "Red Wolf," twice received the National Association of Regional Ballet Monticello Fellowship for Young Choreographers award, and was honored with a "Partners in Dance" award from the Grand Rapids Ballet.

In 1997, Graham received a Creative Artist Grant Award from ArtServe Michigan, in conjunction with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, through which she produced "Interview With a Child," which premiered during Aerial's spring concert in 1998.

She has performed with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Grand Rapids Ballet, and under the direction of artists such as Anna Sokolow, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Ulysses Dove. She graduated from the National Academy of Arts, and received her BFA in theatre and MFA in choreography/performance from the University of Illinois.

Graham's teaching emphases at Hope include ballet, jazz, period dance, dance career skills and accompaniment for dance. She is also co-director for the StrikeTime Dance Company, a touring student company at Hope. In addition, she teaches and choreographs for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and the Grand Rapids Ballet, and collaborates with the Holland Chorale.