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Northrop to Present Martha Graham Dance Company

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Northrop to Present Martha Graham Dance Company

Celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment granting U.S. women the right to vote, Martha Graham Dance Company's The EVE Project comes to Northrop on Sat, Apr 4 with a repertory of Martha Graham works featuring female protagonists as well as pieces by some of today's most important female choreographers.

The EVE Project was created to commemorate through dance the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was passed by Congress on Jun 4, 1919, and ratified on Aug 18, 1920. As the oldest and most celebrated modern dance company in America, the Martha Graham Dance Company exemplifies its founder's timeless and uniquely American style of dance. Along with an evening performance at Northrop, the company is helping lead a free, public movement workshop for all skill levels, 19 Poses for the 19th Amendment, Fri, Apr 3 in the Rotunda at the Minnesota State Capitol as well as other activities.

Northrop Presents
Martha Graham Dance Company
Sat, Apr 4, 7:30 pm
Carlson Family Stage

The EVE Project
Errand into the Maze
Suite from Appalachian Spring
Untitled (Souvenir)

Martha Graham's unique approach to dance and theater has revolutionized the art form and her innovative physical vocabulary has irrevocably influenced dance worldwide. Over her lifespan from 1894 to 1991, Graham created 181 ballets as well as a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude. She built a vocabulary of movement that has "increased the emotional activity of the dancer's body," her choreography exposes the depths of human emotion through movements that are sharp, angular, jagged, and direct.

The EVE Project also honors the Suffrage Movement and the progress of women in the last 100 years. It is meant to serve as a pathway towards important conversations about gender and power. New works from several female choreographers were commissioned, and the classic repertory features both Graham's heroines and anti-heroines - all with an underlying statement about female power.

The evening program begins with Graham's Errand into the Maze, which is loosely based off the myth of Theseus, who journeys into the labyrinth to confront the Minotaur. Graham retells the story from a female's perspective, substituting a heroine for a hero of Greek mythology. Deo, choreographed by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jean Smith, is inspired by the classic myth of Demeter, Goddess of Harvest and Fertility and, Persephone, her daughter. Persephone was abducted by Hades and required to spend six months of each year in the underworld. Doyle and Smith use this story to investigate the natural human preoccupation with death, the underworld, and the role that women play in our understanding of mortality.

Next is Suite from Appalachian Spring, a narrated presentation of highlights from the 1944 Appalachian Spring, a story of a young frontier couple on their wedding day. The collaboration between Martha Graham and Aaron Copland is danced to text from Graham's letters to Copland, which offers a unique insight into the creative process of two geniuses. Untitled (Souvenir), choreographed by Pam Tanowitz, is a work "inspired by movement from a variety of Graham works-some well-known, some obscure." Tanowitz further explains, "The process of taking historical movement and adding and shaping it into something new has been a part of my artistic process for a long time."

The program finishes with Chronicle, a response to the rise of fascism in 1936. According to Martha Graham's program notes, "Chronicle does not attempt to show the actualities of war; rather does it, by evoking war's images, set forth the fateful prelude to war, portray the devastation of spirit which it leaves in its wake, and suggest an answer."

As part of The EVE Project programming, the company created 19 Poses for the 19th Amendment, a selection of 19 photographs of Martha Graham in moments from various performances that evoke female power and her revolutionary approach to representing women on stage. Members of the company will lead a movement workshop through the poses and describe their meanings at a free event in the Rotunda at the Minnesota State Capitol on Fri, Apr 3.

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