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Founded in 1926 by pioneering choreographer Martha Graham, this modern dance company is one of the oldest and most celebrated in America. Graham’s innovative body of work stands alongside that of Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, and Coco Chanel as a pillar of 20th-century Modernism. Her company has performed all over the world, including at the base of the Great Pyramids and in the ancient Herod Atticus Theatre on the Acropolis. The Martha Graham Dance Company has nurtured many choreographers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Merce Cunningham, Pearl Lang, Paul Taylor, Pascal Rioult, and U-M’s Peter Sparling, whose film montage opens Friday’s program. The Saturday evening performance brings back the work of Robert Wilson (Einstein on the Beach), who created a magical evocation of Graham as an artist, using abstract forms and movements to recall the American images that gave meaning to her work and her life.
A program including some of Graham’s psychological dances, growing out of her fascination with the life of the mind, interpersonal relationships, and the use of symbols to express human feeling. It brings together the work of several choreographers to illuminate a theme that captured the imagination of artists as modern dance developed, and continues to provide inspiration for those working today.
Beautiful Captives: Martha Graham and the Cinematic Id
A Film Montage by Peter Sparling with music by Eric Santos
Witch Dance (1914)
Choreography: Mary Wigman
Every Soul Is a Circus (1939)
Choreography: Martha Graham, Music: Paul Nordof, Decor: Philip Stapp
Lamentation Variations (2009)
Choreography: Aszure Barton, Yvonne Rainer, Lar Lubovitch
Night Journey (1947)
Choreography: Martha Graham, Music: William Schumann, Decor: Isamu Noguchi