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Martha Graham Dance Company Announces Programming for 90th Anniversary Season at NY City Center


The world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company celebrates its 90th anniversary season April 14-18, 2016, at New York City Center. The season will feature several of Martha Graham's most important masterworks, including Chronicle (1936), Appalachian Spring (1944), Cave of the Heart (1946), Lamentation (1930), and Night Journey (1947). As part of a new educational partnership, all of the music for the Graham classics will be played by The Mannes Orchestra, under the direction of Mannes Orchestra Artistic Director David Hayes. The season also includes premieres of commissioned works by internationally acclaimed choreographers Marie Chouinard, Mats Ek, and Pontus Lidberg, and recent dances created for the Company by Nacho Duato and Andonis Foniadakis. The Gala program on April 18, the anniversary of Graham's first public performance with her Company in 1926, will feature eight works from 1926 to 2016. The extraordinary Aurélie Dupont, a former Étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet, will perform with the Company on the Gala evening.

"We are dedicating this celebration to the unknown, to Martha Graham's appetite for the new," says Artistic Director Janet Eilber. "Graham's legacy is a wellspring of originality and inspiration ¾ of exploration, experimentation and risk. The new works on our programs this season are part of this directive from the past and will be seen beside the greatest Graham classics. We hope audiences will appreciate our lineage as well as its rich connection to all that is yet to be."

A world premiere by acclaimed Canadian choreographer Marie Chouinard will be presented on opening night. Known for her imaginative, visually striking choreography, Chouinard has created a work for the women of the Company set to a commissioned score by her longtime collaborator Louis Dufort.

The season also includes the New York premiere of AXE, by esteemed Swedish choreographer Mats Ek. A duet based on Ek's film of the same name, the work reflects on the complexities of a long-term relationship. With Ek's inimitable blend of theater and dance, the action becomes a metaphor for the relentless effort of navigating life and love. AXE is set to Albinoni's stirring Adagio, arranged and recorded by Swedish composer Ulf Andersson. The work premiered at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in August 2015.

A New York premiere by award-winning Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg will also be presented. Set to Notturno for Strings and Harp by Irving Fine, the work will have its world premiere at the Library of Congress on April 1, 2016. The dance is commissioned by the Verna and Irving Fine Fund in the Library of Congress to celebrate the many historic commissions the Library awarded Graham in the 1940s.

The season also includes two works commissioned by the Company in 2013 and 2014: Nacho Duato's dark, provocative work Rust, for five male dancers, and Andonis Foniadakis' Echo, a contemporary take on the myth of Echo and Narcissus set to an original score by Julien Tarride.

Graham masterworks to be presented this season are Chronicle, the antiwar powerhouse from 1936, set to music by Wallingford Riegger; the much beloved Appalachian Spring with music by Aaron Copland; and two works inspired by classic Greek tragedies, Cave of the Heart, with music by Samuel Barber, and Night Journey, set to music by William Schumann. All four works include set design by Isamu Noguchi. Special support for the revival of Night Journey this season is provided by New York City Center.

The Gala program will open with rarely seen film footage of Three Gopi Maidens from 1926, followed by a film created for the 90th anniversary titled 90 Years in 90 Seconds. The dancing will feature works from 1926 to 2016, including Tanagra (1926), Heretic (1929), Lamentation (1930), Celebration (1934), Chronicle (1936), a duet from Appalachian Spring (1944), Lament from Acts of Light (1981), and the Pontus Lidberg premiere. Graham 2 will perform Heretic, and for the first time Celebration will have an all-male cast made up of students from the Graham School. Aurélie Dupont will star in both Lament and the duet from Appalachian Spring.

On April 18, in addition to the Gala evening, recently discovered, rare photos of Martha Graham and her Company in performance will be unveiled online as part of the Company's collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute (GCI). An essay with details about the historic evening of April 18, 1926, will also be available on the Graham GCI on this day. This excerpt is a preview of a highly anticipated biography of Martha Graham by Neil Baldwin being published by Knopf.

Performances are Thursday to Saturday, April 14?16, at 8:00pm, and Monday, April 18, at 7:00pm. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased through CityTix: 212-581-1212 / New York City Center is located at 131 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, in Manhattan.

For information about tickets for the Gala Performance and Dinner on April 18, please contact Amanda Hameline at 212-229-9200 x25, or

90th Anniversary Season Programs

Thursday, April 14, at 8:0pm:

Night Journey, Cave of the Heart, World Premiere by Marie Chouinard, New York Premiere of AXE by Mats Ek

Friday, April 15, at 8:00pm:

Night Journey, Appalachian Spring, AXE by Mats Ek, Echo by Andonis Foniadakis

Saturday, April 16, at 8:00pm:

Cave of the Heart, Chronicle, New Work by Marie Chouinard, Rust by Nacho Duato

Monday April 18, at 7:00pm: Gala

Film of Three Gopi Maidens, film: 90 Years in 90 Seconds, and Tanagra, Heretic, Lamentation, Lament, Celebration, duet from Appalachian Spring, Chronicle, New York Premiere by Pontus Lidberg

About the Mannes Orchestra:

Led by Maestro David Hayes, Artistic Director, The Mannes Orchestra is the premiere large ensemble at Mannes School of Music. The orchestra strives to foster the highest level of music-making by studying and performing a wide range of repertoire in a rigorous yet caring and supportive environment that mirrors the culture and practices of professional orchestras. The Mannes Orchestra performs a multitude of concerts each season in venues including Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, City Center, and Tishman Auditorium at The New School.

Founded in 1916, Mannes School of Music at The New School seeks to develop citizen artists who engage with the world around them in and through music, in traditional, new, and emergent forms of practice. Its eminent faculty of artists, scholars, and educators of international stature, including active professionals from all areas of the music world, foster close, constructive relationships with students and is committed to advancing the creative role of music throughout all aspects of our rapidly changing society.

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, 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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