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The Martha Graham Company added to Carolina Performing Arts Rite of Spring at 100

The Martha Graham Company added to Carolina Performing Arts Rite of Spring at 100


Monday, August 13, 2012 - 7:00am

Program Will Include Rare Performances of Martha Grahamas The Rite of Spring The World Premiere of a CPA-Commissioned Work by Nacho Duato and Guest Performances by Wendy Whelan


Program Will Include Rare Performances of Martha Graham’s The Rite of Spring The World Premiere of a CPA-Commissioned Work by Nacho Duato and Guest Performances by Wendy Whelan

April 26 at 8pm, April 27 at 9pm

Chapel Hill, NC and New York, NY (August 13, 2012) — Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) today announced the addition of an exceptional two-night program to the performance season of The Rite of Spring at 100. Presented at 8pm on Friday, April 26 and at 9pm on Saturday, April 27, Myth & Transformation by the renowned Martha Graham Dance Company will bring to a conclusion the performance season of this unprecedented nine-month festival celebrating the centennial of the premiere of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky-Roerich masterpiece.

Myth & Transformation will feature performances of Graham’s powerful The Rite of Spring, which has not been seen by audiences in twenty years, and the much-beloved Graham classic Appalachian Spring; the world premiere of a work choreographed by Nacho Duato, featuring the music of Arvo Pärt with vocals performed by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Choir; and performances by guest artist Wendy Whelan, principal dancer for the New York City Ballet.

“Myth & Transformation brings together artists from across eras, genres and geographies, much as the The Rite of Spring has done over the past 100 years,” stated Emil J. Kang, Executive Director for the Arts at UNC-Chapel Hill and Director of Carolina Performing Arts. “We believe these one-time-only performances will be a stunning climax to our Rite 100 performance season, which features eleven commissioned works, nine world premieres and two U.S. premieres by world-renowned composers, choreographers, directors and performers.”

The Martha Graham Dance Company’s Myth & Transformation programs explore how artists of any era transform iconic stories to make contemporary statements. “The primal physical expression that is the hallmark of the Graham style has a deep connection with the primitive essences evoked in Stravinsky’s revolutionary score for The Rite of Spring, and the pairing is electric,” said Janet Eilber, Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Dance Company. “Graham’s connection to The Rite began in 1930 when she was propelled to international fame starring in one of the first productions in America, choreographed by Leonide Massine and conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Her choreography for the work in 1984 bookends her long creative career, and elements of her many theatrical innovations are distilled into this masterwork, one of her last.”

Martha Graham gave the premiere of her choreography to The Rite of Spring in 1984 at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, to a standing ovation. Not seen by audiences since 1993, her Rite will return to the stage at CPA, featuring Graham stars Blakeley White-McGuire and Xiaochuan Xie in the lead role on different evenings. This remount of The Rite of Spring will include the work’s original costumes by Halston. The Graham Company will also perform Appalachian Spring, one of Graham’s most celebrated masterpieces, featuring Aaron Copland’s Pulitzer Prize-winning score and a set design by Isamu Noguchi.

Renowned for his lush choreographic vocabulary, Nacho Duato has created works for the world’s leading dance companies, including American Ballet Theater, Nederlands Dans Theater, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet. Commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts, Duato’s premiere for the Graham Company’s Myth & Transformation program will incorporate Pärt’s De Profundis with vocals performed by the Carolina Choir, made up of UNC-Chapel Hill students, under the direction of Professor Susan Klebanow.

“As we look back to the premiere of The Rite of Spring, it is a privilege to close Carolina Performing Arts’ epic season celebrating the impact of this seminal work, which has sent ripples throughout the world of music, dance and design over the last one hundred years, with my new work for the Martha Graham Dance Company,” said choreographer Nacho Duato. “The legacy of The Rite is not just a direct link to the breaking down of the tenets of classical forms but the continuing drive of artists to explore the new. My piece for the Martha Graham Company looks forward to a new relationship between myself and the Company and a new offering to the world of dance.”

Details on the program of guest artist Wendy Whelan will be available once confirmed.

Myth & Transformation by The Martha Graham Dance Company will replace the performances of The Rite of Spring by Béjart Ballet Lausanne previously scheduled for Friday, April 26 at 8pm and Saturday, April 27 at 9pm. This change is due to a cancelation by the artists.

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