Activist company

Martha Graham Dance Company will present new work alongside Graham Classics at New York City Center, April 6-10

The world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company returns to New York City Center on April 6, 7, 9 and 10 for the inaugural City Center Dance Festival. The company’s season features Graham’s Appalachian masterpieces Spring and Chronicle, a world premiere by internationally acclaimed choreographer Hofesh Shechter, co-produced by Studio Simkin, and the New York premiere of a new Canticle for Innocent Comedians, created by eight extraordinary choreographers, Sonya Tayeh, Kristina and Sadé Alleyne, Sir Robert Cohan, Jenn Freeman, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor and Yin Yue, and to an original score by renowned composer Jason Moran.

“It’s amazing to think that we’ll be presenting nine new creations by nine exciting and diverse choreographers at New York City Center in April,” said Graham Company Artistic Director Janet Eilber. “Creating new work has never been more difficult than in the past few months, which makes the accomplishments of the choreographers, our dancers and the entire creative team all the more resonant. Each of these dances offers a visceral response , ecstatic and even cathartic to the restrictions the world has endured.”

The season features the world premiere of CAVE by renowned British choreographer Hofesh Shechter. A visceral exploration of collective movement, sound and shared kinetic energy, CAVE is performed by ten Graham dancers and international ballet star Daniil Simkin, who along with Studio Simkin also serves as the project’s creative producer. Music is by Hofesh Shechter and Soul. The costumes are by Taylor McNeill and the lighting design is by Yi-Chung Chen.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and honor for me to work with the Graham Company – an incredibly talented, selflessly hardworking, humble and fully committed group of dancers who have fully connected to my work, work that is made to stir and to inspire the motor rhythm of the body, and thereby awaken that euphoric human spirit with a sense of oneness. I couldn’t have hoped for a better match than these fierce dancers for this job,” Shechter said.

“Hofesh Shechter’s CAVE combines the transcendence of performative dance with the community spirit of a nightlife event,” said Daniil Simkin. “Hofesh and the Graham Company share an understanding of movement that connects to a primal experience. After a long period of isolation, it’s time to come together in a search for ourselves and what it means to be human .”

Another highlight of this season is the new Song for Innocent Comedians inspired by the themes and format of Graham’s 1952 work. The original work was built around eight virtuoso vignettes that each celebrated a different aspect of the nature and our relationship with it. Although the work was well received, there are few records of it and it is considered lost. Artistic Director Janet Eilber designed the new production in which the vignettes were created by eight different choreographers from a variety of dance backgrounds.

Tony Award-winning Canticle lead choreographer Sonya Tayeh was tasked with creating a cohesive overview of the work and choreographs the opening and closing dances, interludes for the entire company and the vignette titled Sun. . Choreographers Kristina and Sadé Alleyne (Alleyne Dance), Jenn Freeman, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor and Yin Yue create Earth, Water, Fire, Stars and Death. Sir Robert Cohan, who danced in the original cast in 1952, premiered a new Wind for Canticle in 2019. Moon has original choreography by Martha Graham. The new Canticle for Innocent Comedians features an original score by jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran, costumes by Karen Young and lighting by Yi-Chung Chen.

“Participating in the redesign of a work by Graham is one of my greatest honors,” Tayeh said. “As the project’s lead choreographer, I’m gripped by the story brought to the fore by Graham and seven other stellar choreographers. For me, Graham’s works are relics of resilience, and Canticle is full of that lively energy. .”

The season also includes Graham’s famous masterpiece Appalachian Spring (1944), with a luminous score by Aaron Copland and a spare set by longtime Graham collaborator Isamu Noguchi. This iconic and enduring work has been called “brilliant and joyful” and “a testament to the sheer finesse of the human spirit” (The New York Times).

Graham’s austere and powerful work Chronicle, dating from 1936, performed by the women of the Company, will also be presented. On a score by Wallingford Riegger, Chronicle was created in response to the rise of fascism in Europe; its underlying theme of political activism continues to resonate today.

The company’s gala on April 7 will include a special performance of Ritual to the Sun, an ode to Graham’s class technique, taken from his 1981 work Acts of Light.

Music from Appalachian Spring and Chronicle will be performed live by The Mannes Orchestra under the direction of David Hayes.

Martha Graham Dance Company dancers are So Young An, Alessio Crognale, Laurel Dalley Smith, Natasha M. Diamond Walker, Lloyd Knight, Jacob Larsen, Devin Loh, Lloyd Mayor, Marzia Memoli, Anne O’Donnell, Lorenzo Pagano, Kate Reyes, Anne Souder, Richard Villaverde, Leslie Andrea Williams and Xin Ying.

Downtown New York Programs

Program A | Wednesday April 6 and Saturday April 9 at 7:30 p.m.

the Chronicle
Choreography by Martha Graham
Music by Wallingford Riegger

Song for innocent comedians
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh with Kristina and Sadé Alleyne, Sir Robert Cohan, Jenn Freeman, Martha Graham, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor and Yin Yue
Music by Jason Moran

CAVE

Choreography by Hofesh Shechter
Music by Hofesh Shechter and Soul

gala | Thursday April 7 at 7 p.m.

Sun Ritual of Acts of Light
Choreography by Martha Graham
Music by Carl Nielsen

Song for Innocent Comedians (excerpts)
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh with Kristina and Sadé Alleyne, Sir Robert Cohan, Jenn Freeman, Martha Graham, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor and Yin Yue
Music by Jason Moran

Appalachian Spring (excerpts)
Choreography by Martha Graham
Music by Aaron Copland

CAVE

Choreography by Hofesh Shechter

Music by Hofesh Shechter and Soul

Program B | Sunday April 10 at 1 p.m.

Appalachian Spring
Choreography by Martha Graham
Music by Aaron Copland

Song for innocent comedians
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh with Sadé and Kristina Alleyne, Sir Robert Cohan, Jenn Freeman, Martha Graham, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor and Yin Yue
Music by Jason Moran

Tickets start at $35 and are available at CityTix: 212-581-1212 / nycitycenter.org. New York City Center is located at 131 West 55th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues), Manhattan. New York City Center health and safety protocols are available here.

For more information about the Martha Graham Dance Company Gala on April 7, please contact Fran Kirmser at 212-229-9200 x25 or [email protected]