The Martha Graham Dance Company opens its 2014 New York City Season on March 19. The season features two world premieres, and four Graham masterworks, included in which are the anniversaries of two works which are deeply woven into the Graham legend – the 70th anniversary of Appalachian Spring and the 30th anniversary of The Rite of Spring.
The opening night is a gala performance dedicated to Martha Graham’s Greek connections. There’s a new one-act production of her 1958 creation, Clytemnestra, arranged by the Company’s Artistic Director, Janet Eilber, with former Graham star, Linda Hodes. This is followed by a presentation of Panorama, Graham’s dramatic “rallying cry for social activism”, created in 1935. The gala also features the first of the premieres – Echo – by Greek choreographer, Andonis Foniadakis, a work inspired by the mythological characters Narcissus and Echo, and set to a commissioned score by French composer and visual artist, Julien Tarride. A preview can be seen here.
Clytemnestra and Echo will have a second performance on March 21, appearing with the last work which Martha Graham created – Maple Leaf Rag – a colorful and light-hearted tribute to composer Scott Joplin, with costumes by Calvin Klein. Follow this link to watch a video clip.
The two anniversary works – Appalachian Spring and The Rite of Spring – appear in performances on March 20 and 22. Appalachian Spring – Martha Graham’s “testimony to the simple fineness of the human spirit” – was created in 1944, to a commissioned score from Aaron Copland, for which he received the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music. It portrays the spring celebration of a group of 19th century American pioneers in Pennsylvania, on completion of the building of a farmhouse. See this fascinating multi-era video clip.
Martha Graham created her powerful interpretation of The Rite of Spring in 1984, her distinctive style of choreography creating a natural setting for the primitive essences of Stravinsky’s revolutionary 1913 score. Accompanying these celebratory performances is the world premiere of a work by Spanish choreographer, Nacho Duato, set to the music of Arsanije Jovanovic and John Talabot.
The Martha Graham Dance Company’s 2014 New York City Season takes place from March 19 to 22 at New York City Center. Tickets can be purchased through CityTix at 212-581-1212 / www.nycitycenter.org