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Martha Graham Dance Company Presents SACRED/PROFANE, 2/14

The Martha Graham Dance Company's two-week season at The Joyce Theater, February 14-26, 2017, will feature three diverse programs organized under the season theme Sacred/Profane. Classics by Martha Graham and works by four contemporary choreographers, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Annie-B Parson, Pontus Lidberg, and Nacho Duato, will be presented, highlighting the mystical, spiritual, and humorous aspects of magical thinking.

Graham masterworks this season include selections from Dark Meadow (1946), one of Graham's most psychological and abstract works evoking the eternal search for connection; Primitive Mysteries (1931), reflecting on the purity found in the virgin myths of the Southwest; and Clytemnestra Act 2 (1958), with its ancient saga of family tragedy on a mythic scale. The joyous and lyrical Diversion of Angels(1948) and witty Maple Leaf Rag (1990) complete the lineup.

The season also features a new work for seven dancers by renowned Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who draws on Sufi mysticism to create a piece set to traditional Middle Eastern music, and a premiere by the always inventive Annie-B Parson, inspired by Graham's 1941 comic ballet Punch and the Judy and the domestic rough-and-tumble of the street-theater classic. The new work, Parson's second project with the Company, includes text by Will Eno, an original score by Tei Blow, and video design by Jeff Larson.

Pontus Lidberg's acclaimed Woodland, set to Irving Fine's Notturno for Strings and Harp, which the Company premiered last season, and Nacho Duato's dark, provocative work Rust, created for the Company in 2013, and set to music by Arvo Pärt, will also be presented.

All-City Panorama will be presented as part of the Company's annual University Partners Showcase on Saturday, February 18. This special program offers classic works by Graham including Helios, Panorama, and Steps in the Street, performed by university and high school dancers from around the country.

The dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company are So Young An, PeiJu Chien-Pott, Laurel Dalley Smith, Abdiel Jacobsen,Lloyd Knight, Charlotte Landreau, Jacob Larsen, Lloyd Mayor, Ari Mayzick, Marzia Memoli, Anne O'Donnell, Lorenzo Pagano,Ben Schultz, Anne Souder, Leslie Andrea Williams, Konstantina Xintara, and Xin Ying.

Performances are at The Joyce Theater Tuesday, February 14 to Sunday, February 26, 2017. Complete program details follow. For information about the Company's Gala on Wednesday, February 15, at 7pm, call 212-229-9200, or email

The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street) in Manhattan. Tickets range from $10 to $60. Prices are subject to change. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling JOYCECHARGE at 212-242-0800.

Program A

Tuesday, February 14, at 7:30pm; Thursday, February 16, at 8pm; Sunday, February 19, at 7:30pm; Friday, February 24, at 8pm; Sunday, February 26, at 2pm

New Work by Annie-B Parson (world premiere)

Woodland by Pontus Lidberg

Dark Meadow Suite (music: Carlos Chávez, costumes: Martha Graham)

Maple Leaf Rag (music: Scott Joplin, costumes: Calvin Klein)

Program B

Friday, February 17, at 8pm; Saturday, February 18, at 8pm; Tuesday, February 21, at 7:30pm;

Thursday, February 23, at 8pm; Saturday, February 25, at 2pm

New Work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (world premiere)

Rust by Nacho Duato

Primitive Mysteries (music: Louis Horst, costumes: Martha Graham)

Diversion of Angels (music: Norman Dello Joio, costumes: Martha Graham)

Program C

Sunday, February 19, at 2pm; Wednesday, February 22, at 7:30pm; Saturday, February 25, at 8pm; Sunday, February 26, at 7:30pm

New Work by Annie-B Parson

New Work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Clytemnestra Act 2 (music: Halim El Dahm, set: Isamu Noguchi, costumes: Martha Graham and Helen McGhee)

Maple Leaf Rag (music: Scott Joplin, costumes: Calvin Klein)

University Partners Showcase

Saturday, February 18, at 2pm

Featuring Graham classics Helios, Panorama, Plain of Prayer, Prelude to Action, and Steps in the Street.

Guest Choreographers' Biographies

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's debut as a choreographer was in 1999 with Andrew Wale's contemporary musical Anonymous Society. Since then, he has made more than 20 fully fledged choreographic pieces and picked up a slew of prestigious awards. In 2008, Sadler's Wells named him as an Associate Artist, and since 2010 he has been artistic director of the Festival Equilibrio in Rome. In 2015 he was appointed as the new artistic director of the Royal Ballet Flanders. Cherkaoui also maintains his own company, Eastmen, founded in 2010 in Antwerp. He continues to work with a variety of theaters, opera houses, and ballet companies around the world.

Nacho Duato is one of today's most renowned ballet choreographers. He was the artistic director of Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid from 1990 to 2010, transforming the company into one of the most successful touring ensembles in the world. From 2011 to 2014 he was the Artistic Director of Mikhailovsky Ballet. He holds the position of Resident Choreographer at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. In 2014, he became Artistic Director of Staatsballetts Berlin. The Spanish government awarded him the Golden Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts in 1998.

Duato is the recipient of a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Pontus Lidberg is a Swedish choreographer, filmmaker, and dancer. He is most recognized for his dance film The Rain, for which he received numerous awards around the world. His film Labyrinth Within won Best Picture at Lincoln Center's Dance on Camera Festival in 2012. As a choreographer for the stage, Lidberg has created more than 35 works for such major international dance companies as Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, SemperOper Ballet Dresden, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Beijing Dance Theatre, The Royal Swedish Ballet, Morphoses, and for his own group, Pontus Lidberg Dance.

Annie-B Parson co-founded Big Dance Theater in 1991. She has co-created over 20 works for the company, ranging from pure dance pieces to adaptations and deconstructions of found text, plays and literature. Her work with Big Dance has been commissioned by Les Subsistances in Lyon, the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The National Theater of Paris/Chaillot, The Japan Society, The Walker Art Center, and many other venues.

Parson has created choreography for opera, pop stars, theater, ballet, marching bands, objects, museums, symphonies, movies, TV, and a cast of 1,000 singers. She choreographed David Bowie/Ivo Van Hove's Lazarus; David Byrne's Here Lies Love, and Byrne's 2012 and 2008 world tours; St. Vincent's recent world tour; and for the David Lynch Festival and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She has also made work for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Wendy Whelan. Parson has a work in the repertory of The Royal Ballet. She is the recipient of two Bessie Awards, a Franky Award, and the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award. Big Dance received an OBIE in 2002. The company recently celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Kitchen.

About the Martha Graham Dance Company

The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926. Today, the Company is embracing a new programming vision that showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. With programs that unite the work of choreographers across time within a rich historical and thematic narrative, the Company is actively working to create new platforms for contemporary dance and multiple points of access for audiences.

Since its inception, the Martha Graham Dance Company has received international acclaim from audiences in more than 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. The Company has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, Covent Garden, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as at the base of the Great Pyramids in Egypt and in the ancient Herod Atticus Theatre on the Acropolis in Athens. In addition, the Company has also produced several award-winning films broadcast on PBS and around the world.

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