Martha Graham Dance Company created The EVE Project to mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of U.S. women’s right to vote. The female-focused initiative includes new works, as well as the company’s classic repertoire highlighting Martha Graham’s heroines and antiheroines. In April, the company is showing the newly reconstructed Circe, Graham’s 1963 interpretation of the Greek myth, at New York City Center. Dancing the role of Circe is company member So Young An. Here, she shares thoughts on The EVE Project and how she’s approaching her role in Circe, the 57-year-old work that invites audiences to consider pressing conversations about womanhood.
On what The EVE Project means to her “I think The EVE Project is meant to be a representation of all women. Our City Center program includes works that show all different types of female characters on the stage. It’s not just about princesses, or swans, or flowers or fairies. Circe is a complicated and powerful woman who turns men into animals. The audience gets to decide if she is good or bad, because as a human, she is more than just one thing.”
On developing her role “Martha choreographed Circe for a British tour in 1963. We have studied the original old black-and-white film, as well as other footage. It’s blurry, and difficult to discern small details. We can’t see the makeup or the expressions on their faces, so we have to develop our characters through the overall feeling of the movement, the spacing and the relationship between dancers. I’ve also studied and researched the Greek mythology that Martha focused this work on.”
The challenges of this particular work “All of my partners have different characters, so I’m excited to dive into the distinct relationship my character has with each of them. I’m also excited to see the scenery and costumes come together. Martha’s work involves each of those elements as part of the choreography. We can’t even rehearse without the scenery. It’s too important to the movement.”
Training: Busan Youth Ballet Academy, Vaganova Ballet Academy in South Korea, Dong-Ah University in Korea (BFA), Martha Graham Dance School
Martha Graham Dance Company (2016–present); Korean National Ballet (2001–2006); Buglisi Dance Theatre (2008–2016)
Awards: 1995 International Arts Award and 2001 Grand Prize at the Korea National Ballet Grand Prix