Martha Graham Dance Company returns to The Joyce Theater with "The EVE Project"
Martha Graham Dance Company
The world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company returns to The Joyce Theater April 2–14, 2019 with The EVE Project, the Company’s season theme celebrating female empowerment and the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The season focuses on both historical and contemporary ideas of the feminine. Commissioned works from five of today’s top choreographers will be presented, and the classic repertory features Martha Graham’s heroines and anti-heroines—all with an underlying statement about female power.
“Martha Graham revolutionized the way women are represented on stage. Choreographing the mind and reconfiguring iconic characters, she conjured complex, powerful women acting both inside and outside of society’s expectations,” said Artistic Director Janet Eilber. “Our Joyce season offers several examples of Graham’s multifaceted women in conversation with a range of works by five visionary choreographers. As the centennial of the 19th Amendment approaches, we hope that The EVE Project will offer diverse and evocative ways of considering female power.”
The Joyce program will feature the world premiere of Deo by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith, choreographers who are both known for their use of drama and emotional content. Inspired by the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, Doyle and Smith use the story to investigate the natural human preoccupation with death and the underworld, and the role that women play in our understanding of mortality. Deo features an original score by experimental electronic musician Lesley Flanigan and costumes by Karen Young.
The program also includes the New York premiere of Untitled (Souvenir) by acclaimed choreographer Pam Tanowitz, set to music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. Tanowitz draws on some of Graham’s dances, including The Legend of Judith from 1967 and Dark Meadow (1946). Incorporating elements of the vocabulary and phrasing from Graham’s work, Tanowitz takes the iconic movement, adds to it, and shapes it into something new. Costumes are by designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of TOME.
Annie-B Parson’s wry, multidisciplinary work I used to love you, based on Graham’s 1941 comic ballet Punch and the Judy and the domestic rough-and-tumble of the street-theater classic, will also be presented. Created for the Graham Company in 2017, I used to love you includes text by Will Eno, an original score by Tei Blow, costumes by Oana Botez, and video design by Jeff Larson.
Renowned choreographer Lucinda Childs’s stunning duet Histoire, created for the Company in 1999 with music by Krzysztof Knittel, will also be performed.
The Joyce program will also feature a range of Graham’s own works—from the social activism embodied in a cast of 12 powerful women in Chronicle (1936) to the psychological dilemma of a woman breaking boundaries in Herodiade (1944). The program also includes the original Secular Games from 1962, which has not been seen in decades. A work for 12 dancers, Secular Games offers a wry look at sexual stereotypes. Errand into the Maze (1947), Graham’s journey into a woman’s triumph over fear, is her revision of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, and El Penitente (1941), a stark trio inspired by Christian-based rituals of the American Southwest, shows us Mary as virgin, temptress, and mother.
The gala program on Tuesday, April 9, includes Errand into the Maze, starring PeiJu Chien-Pott for this performance only, Diversion of Angels, an excerpt from Deo by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith, and Ekstasis, a reimagining of a sculptural Graham solo from 1933. Ekstasis will be performed by guest artist Aurélie Dupont, a former étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet and its current director.
All-City Panorama will be presented as part of the Company’s annual University Partners Showcase on Saturday, April 6. This special program features Panorama, Celebration, Chronicle, and excerpts from The Rite of Spring and Appalachian Spring, performed by university and high school dancers from around the country.
The dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company are So Young An, Alyssa Cebulski, PeiJu Chien-Pott, Alessio Crognale, Laurel Dalley Smith, Natasha M. Diamond-Walker, Lloyd Knight, Charlotte Landreau, Jacob Larsen, Lloyd Mayor, Cara McManus, Marzia Memoli, Anne O’Donnell, Lorenzo Pagano, Ben Schultz, Anne Souder, Leslie Andrea Williams, and Xin Ying.
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