When I was asked to create the Sage Awards for Dance for 2015, I knew I wanted to research Martha Graham because of her influential role in modern dance. I looked at iconic photos of her performances and found her archives at the Smithsonian Institution. By finding copies of some old programs I saw that Isamu Noguchi was her set designer at an earlier date than I had previously thought. (I had assumed that he started working with her in the 1940s – Appalachian Spring). It was very exciting for me to find a program that listed Isamu Noguchi (my favorite sculptor) and Henry Denecke, my father, on the same page.
The form of this award is a compilation influences from images of Martha Graham dancing and a Japanese hand drum. I feel that the arts of dance, sculpture and music are represented in this piece and that I am paying homage to Martha Graham, Isamu Noguchi and Henry Denecke, Graham’s percussionist in the 1930s.