Martha Graham Dance Company
Tickets available starting at $29. Tickets are sold by section for the 21/22 season. Limited $10 UNC Student tickets available with proof of UNC OneCard.
For nearly 100 years, Martha Graham Dance Company has helped define modern dance. The Company continues to embrace new programming, showcasing masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. Martha Graham Dance Company is a world leader in the evolving art form of modern dance, enlivening the body with raw, electric emotion.
During this season’s performance, audiences will be treated to three dances: Errand into the Maze, Diversion of Angels, and Canticle for Innocent Comedians.
Whether the dancers are performing in Memorial Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, Covent Garden, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, or at the base of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, audiences and critics rave. “These men and women easily embody the choreographer’s sense of dancers as angelic athletes,” said Robert Greskovic of The Wall Street Journal, while Marina Kennedy of Broadway World said, “This is contemporary dance at its very best.”
Errand into the Maze
Diversion of Angels
Canticle for Innocent Comedians
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About the Artists
MARTHA GRAHAM (1894–1991) is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th century, alongside Picasso, James Joyce, Stravinsky, and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1998, TIME magazine named Martha Graham “Dancer of the Century,” and People magazine named her among the female “Icons of the Century.” As a choreographer, she was as prolific as she was complex. She created 181 ballets and a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude. Her approach to dance and theater revolutionized the art form and her innovative physical vocabulary has irrevocably influenced dance worldwide.
MORE ABOUT MARTHA GRAHAM
Martha Graham’s extraordinary artistic legacy has often been compared to Stanislavsky’s Art Theatre in Moscow and the Grand Kabuki Theatre of Japan, for its diversity and breadth. Her legacy is perpetuated in performance by the members of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Martha Graham Ensemble, and by the students of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.
In 1926, Martha Graham founded her dance company and school, living and working out of a tiny Carnegie Hall studio in midtown Manhattan. In developing her technique, Martha Graham experimented endlessly with basic human movement, beginning with the most elemental movements of contraction and release. Using these principles as the foundation for her technique, she built a vocabulary of movement that would “increase the emotional activity of the dancer’s body.” Martha Graham’s dancing and choreography exposed the depths of human emotion through movements that were sharp, angular, jagged, and direct. The dance world was forever altered by Martha Graham’s vision, which has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for generations of dance and theatre artists.
Martha Graham’s ballets were inspired by a wide variety of sources, including modern painting, the American frontier, religious ceremonies of Native Americans, and Greek mythology. Many of her most important roles portray great women of history and mythology: Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Medea, Phaedra, Joan of Arc, and Emily Dickinson.
As an artist, Martha Graham conceived each new work in its entirety – dance, costumes, and music. During her 70 years of creating dances, Martha Graham collaborated with such artists as sculptor Isamu Noguchi; actor and director John Houseman; fashion designers Halston, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein; and renowned composers including Aaron Copland, Louis Horst (her mentor), Samuel Barber, William Schuman, Carlos Surinach, Norman Dello Joio, and Gian Carlo Menotti. Her company was the training ground for many future modern choreographers, including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. She created roles for classical ballet stars such as Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, welcoming them as guests into her company. In charge of movement and dance at The Neighborhood Playhouse, she taught actors including Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Tony Randall, Anne Jackson, and Joanne Woodward how to use the body as an expressive instrument.
Her uniquely American vision and creative genius earned her numerous honors and awards such as the Laurel Leaf of the American Composers Alliance in 1959 for her service to music. Her colleagues in theater, the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One, voted her the recipient of the 1986 Local One Centennial Award for Dance, not to be awarded for another 100 years. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford bestowed upon Martha Graham the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, and declared her a “national treasure,” making her the first dancer and choreographer to receive this honor. Another Presidential honor was awarded Martha Graham in 1985 when President Ronald Reagan designated her among the first recipients of the United States National Medal of Arts.
JANET EILBER (Artistic Director) has been the Company’s artistic director since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to Martha Graham’s masterworks. These initiatives include contextual programming, educational and community partnerships, use of new media, commissions from today’s top choreographers and creative events such as the Lamentation Variations. Earlier in her career, as a principal dancer with the Company, Ms. Eilber worked closely with Martha Graham. She danced many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles created for her by Graham, and was directed by Graham in most of the major roles of the repertory. She soloed at the White House, was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, starred in three segments of Dance in America, and has since taught, lectured, and directed Graham ballets internationally. Apart from her work with Graham, Ms. Eilber has performed in films, on television, and on Broadway directed by such greats as Agnes deMille and Bob Fosse and has received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance. She has served as Director of Arts Education for the Dana Foundation, guiding the Foundation’s support for Teaching Artist training and contributing regularly to its arts education publications. Ms. Eilber is a Trustee Emeritus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She is married to screenwriter/director John Warren, with whom she has two daughters, Madeline and Eva.
Natasha M. Diamond-Walker
Denise Vale, Senior Artistic Associate
So Young An
Laurel Dalley Smith
Leslie Andrea Williams
LaRue Allen, Executive Director
DENISE VALE (Senior Artistic Associate) danced with the Company for ten years dancing many of the major roles of the Graham repertory. She is well known for her performance as Woman in White in Diversion of Angels, and widely acclaimed as the first Leader in the reconstruction of “Steps in the Street”. She starred in Night Chant, a ballet created for her by Martha Graham, and in the Graham solos Lamentation, Frontier, Satyric Festival Song, and Serenata Morisca. As Senior Artistic Associate, Ms. Vale serves primarily as the rehearsal director for the Martha Graham Company, is on the faculty of the Graham School, and travels throughout the world teaching master classes in the Graham Technique for dancers of all ages and abilities. Ms Vale also restages the Graham ballets for major dance companies such as Ballet de Lorraine, Ballet Flanders, Semperoper in Dresden, Germany and the Grand Theater Opera in Lodz, Poland.
LLOYD KNIGHT (Principal) joined the Company in 2005 and performs the major male roles of the Graham repertory including in Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Night Journey and many others. Dance Magazine named him one of the “Top 25 Dancers to Watch” in 2010 and one of the best performers of 2015. Mr. Knight has starred with ballet greats Wendy Whelan and Misty Copeland in signature Graham duets and has had roles created for him by such renowned artists as Nacho Duato and Pam Tanowitz. He is currently a principal guest artist for The Royal Ballet of Flanders directed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Born in England and raised in Miami, he trained at Miami Conservatory of Ballet and New World School of the Arts.
XIN YING (Principal) joined the Company in 2011 and performs many of Martha Graham’s own roles including in Herodiade, Errand into the Maze, Chronicle, Lamentation, Deep Song, and Cave of the Heart. Ms. Xin has also danced solo roles in Clytemnestra and Diversion of Angels. She has been featured in works created for the Company by Nacho Duato, Pontus Lidberg, Annie-B Parson, Kyle Abraham, Liz Gerring, Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith. Ms. Xin also starred in the Chinese production Dreams and has been commissioned to create new choreography for Co•Lab Dance. Her Instagram account, on which she posts her own improvisations, has thousands of followers.
NATASHA M. DIAMOND-WALKER (Soloist) is from Los Angeles and joined the Company in 2011. A lead in many of Graham’s ballets, most memorably, she was the first Black woman to perform Graham’s iconic solo Lamentation in America as a member of the company in 2020. With MGDC she has been a collaborator on original works by Kyle Abraham, Bobbi Jene Smith, Pam Tanowitz, Annie-B Parson and Nacho Duato, to name a few. In addition to her work at Graham she enjoys her work as both an actress and movement director for TV/Film, and site specific performance. She is the Artistic Director of the Lester Horton Dance Theater in Los Angeles, a private Classical Pilates instructor, and a published writer. She is also an Ailey School/Fordham University alumni.
LLOYD MAYOR (Soloist) is Swiss and British and joined the company in 2012. Mr. Mayor has danced lead roles in the Graham repertoire, including Appalachian Spring, Errand Into the Maze and Embattled Garden. He has also been featured in works by Kyle Abraham, Nacho Duato and Pam Tanotwitz. In January 2014 Mr. Mayor won the Clive Barnes Dance Award and in 2019 Lloyd Mayor was appointed co-president of the foundation. Former dance critic of the New York Times, Alastair Mcauley wrote that “The attack, sweep and openness of this man’s style is remarkable”.
ANNE O’DONNELL (Soloist) joined the Company in 2014 and performs lead roles in Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Dark Meadow Suite, El Penitente, Diversion of Angels and new works by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith, Pam Tanowitz, Annie-B Parson, Mats Ek, Lar Lubovitch and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. She danced with Ailey II and Buglisi Dance Theatre and attended Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, and Springboard Danse Montreal. She appeared on the cover of Dance Spirit‘s February 2016 Issue “Young and Modern”.
LORENZO PAGANO (Soloist) joined the Company in 2012 and dances lead roles in Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Night Journey, and Diversion of Angels and in contemporary works by Andonis Foniadakis, Lucinda Childs, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Nacho Duato, Pontus Lidberg and Lar Lubovitch. A native of Torino, Italy, he moved to the US and trained as a scholarship student at The School at Jacob’s Pillow and The Martha Graham School. In 2016 Pagano received the Italian International Dance Award for “Male Rising Star”.
ANNE SOUDER (Soloist) joined the Company in 2015 and performs Martha Graham’s own roles in Dark Meadow Suite, Chronicle, Deep Song, and Ekstasis. Roles have also been created for her by such luminaries as Marie Chouinard, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith. Ms. Souder began her training in Maryville, Tennessee and graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program with a double major in Dance and Theology while performing works by Alvin Ailey, Ron K. Brown, and more. She was also a member of Graham 2 and awarded a Dizzy Feet Foundation scholarship.
SO YOUNG AN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2016. Ms. An received a BFA from Dong-Ah University in Korea. She is the recipient of the 1995 International Arts Award and the Grand Prize at the Korea National Ballet Grand Prix in 2001. She has danced with Korea National Ballet Company and Buglisi Dance Theatre and has also performed works by Yuri Grigorovich, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Mats Ek, Patricia Ruanne and Samantha Dunster.
ALESSIO CROGNALE (Dancer) is from Abruzzo, Italy and joined the Company in 2017. He began is training in his home town and then pursued his major in Ballet at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Mr. Crognale trained at the Graham School where he graduated in 2016 and was a member of Graham 2. He danced with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in 2016 and 2017.
LAUREL DALLEY SMITH (Dancer) joined the Company in 2015. Performing principal roles in Appalachian Spring, Steps in the Street, Errand into the Maze, Cave of the Heart and Diversion of Angels. Also Creating new roles with contemporary choreographers Hofesh Schetcher, Pam Tanowitz, Bobbi Jene Smith, Annie B Parsons amongst others. Laurel guests internationally with Yorke Dance Project, performing work created on her by Sir Robert Cohan, Kim Brandstrup and Darshan Singh Bhuller.
JACOB LARSEN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2016 and performs featured roles in Appalachian Spring, Diversion of Angels, Secular Games and Pontus Lidberg’s Woodland. He received his BFA from Marymount Manhattan College performing works by Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Aszure Barton among others. He has worked with Sidra Bell Dance New York, performed works by Alexander Ekman and Banning Boulding at Springboard Danse Montréal 2015, and was a member of Graham 2.
MARZIA MEMOLI (Dancer) from Palermo, Italy, joined the Company in 2016 and performs lead roles in Graham’s El Penitente, “Steps in the Street” and works by Pontus Lidberg, Bobbi Jean Smith, Maxine Doyle and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. In 2018 Dance Spirit said she “may be the…Company’s newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads”. She graduated from the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan and the Bejart’s school, where she performed with the Bejart Ballet Lausanne.
RICHARD VILLAVERDE (Dancer) born and raised in Miami, FL, began dancing at the age of 13, privately coached by Maria Eugenia Lorenzo. Richard is a New World School of the Arts graduate and received his B.F.A from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Notably, he was a part of Arsenale della Danza 2012 at La Biennale de Venezia under the direction of Ismael Ivo. He later joined BalletX (2012-2021) where he was featured in works by Matthew Neenan, Dwight Rodan, Nicolo Fonte, Penny Saunders, Cayetano Soto, Trey McIntyre, Jodie Gates, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. He performed at the Vail International Dance Festival, Ballet Sun Valley, Belgrade Dance Festival as well as at Jacob’s Pillow. This is Richard’s first season with Martha Graham.
LESLIE ANDREA WILLIAMS (Dancer) was born in Newport News, VA and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Williams joined the Company just two months after graduating from The Juilliard School in May 2015. Since then, she has performed numerous featured roles in iconic Graham ballets, such as Chronicle, Appalachian Spring, Diversion of Angels, and Embattled Garden. She was recently featured in Dance Magazine as a dancer “On The Rise.”
DEVIN LOH (Apprentice) From Fanwood, NJ, Ms. Loh holds a BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY. She was named a recipient of the Bert Terborgh Award upon graduation for Leadership and Excellence in Dance. Shortly after, Ms. Loh continued her performance and pedagogical studies at the Martha Graham School, and performed with Graham 2. This is her first season with the Company.
KATE REYES (Apprentice) is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, where she received her BFA in Dance. Kate has received further training from Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS, The Martha Graham School, The Taylor School, and Manhattan Youth Ballet. Upon graduating college, Kate joined the Graham 2 company in 2020.
MORE ABOUT THE MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY
The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a world leader in the evolving art form of modern dance since its founding in 1926. Today, under the direction of Artistic Director Janet Eilber, the Company is embracing a new programming vision that showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. With programs that offer a rich thematic narrative, the Company creates new platforms for contemporary dance and multiple points of access for audiences.
Since its inception, the Company has received international acclaim from audiences in over 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The Company has performed at such illustrious venues as the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, and Covent Garden, as well as at the base of the Great Pyramids of 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.
Though Martha Graham herself is the best-known alumna of her company, the Company has provided a training ground for some of modern dance’s most celebrated performers and choreographers. Former members of the Company include Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, Paul Taylor, John Butler and Glen Tetley. Among celebrities who have joined the Company in performance are Mikhail Baryshnikov, Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Maya Plisetskaya, Tiler Peck, Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo and Aurelie Dupont.
In recent years, the Company has challenged expectations and experimented with a wide range of offerings beyond its mainstage performances. It has created a series of intimate in-studio events, forged unusual creative partnerships with the likes of SITI Company, Performa, the New Museum, Barney’s, and Siracusa’s Greek Theater Festival (to name a few); created substantial digital offerings with Google Arts and Culture, YouTube, and Cennarium; and created a model for reaching new audiences through social media. The astonishing list of artists who have created works for the Graham dancers in the last decade reads like a catalog of must-see choreographers:
Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Lucinda Childs, Marie Chouinard, Michelle Dorrance, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Andonis Foniadakis, Liz Gerring, Larry Keigwin, Michael Kliën, Pontus Lidberg, Lil Buck, Lar Lubovitch, Josie Moseley, Richard Move, Bulareyaung Pagarlava, Annie-B Parson, Yvonne Rainer, Sonya Tayeh, Doug Varone, Luca Vegetti, Gwen Welliver and Robert Wilson.
The current company dancers hail from around the world and, while grounded in their Graham core training, can also slip into the style of contemporary choreographers like a second skin, bringing technical brilliance and artistic nuance to all they do — from brand new works to Graham classics and those from early pioneers such as Isadora Duncan, Jane Dudley, Anna Sokolow, and Mary Wigman. “Some of the most skilled and powerful dancers you can ever hope to see,” according to the Washington Post last year. “One of the great companies of the world,” says The New York Times, while Los Angeles Times notes, “They seem able to do anything, and to make it look easy as well as poetic.”
LaRue Allen, Executive Director
Janet Eilber, Artistic Director
Denise Vale, Senior Artistic Associate
Simona Ferrara, General Manager
Mariola Briales, Company Manager
Fran Kirmser, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Events
A. Apostol, Director of Development Operations
Joyce Herring, Director of Martha Graham Resources
Melissa Sherwood, Director of Marketing
Stephanie Shin, Assistant to the Executive Director
Malinda Logan, Development Associate
Rebecca Kimock, Administrative Assistant
Haejin Han, Production Supervisor
Yi-Chung Chen, Lighting Supervisor
Caleb Krieg, Wardrobe Supervisor
Karen Young, Costume Consultant
Jennifer Patten, Head of School
Tami Alesson, Dean of Students and Government Affairs
Virginie Mécène, Program Director/Director of Graham 2
Lone Larsen, Program Director
Amélie Bénard, Teens@Graham Program Director
Maxwell Louis Waterman, Teens@Graham Program Director
Yejin Lee, School Marketing Assistant
Janet Stapleton, Press Agent
Elizabeth Auclair, Amélie Bénard, Tadej Brdnik, Susan Kikuchi, Lone Larsen, Peggy Lyman, Virginie Mécène, Miki Orihara, Ben Schultz, Marni Thomas, Oliver Tobin, Ken Topping, Denise Vale, Blakeley White-McGuire
Board of Trustees
Lorraine S. Oler, Chairman
Javier Morgado, Vice-Chair
Inger Witter, President
Barbara Cohen, Development Chairman
Judith G. Schlosser, Chairman Emeritus
LaRue Allen, Executive Director
Janet Eilber, Artistic Director
Con Way Ling
Stephen M. Rooks
North American Representation
Rena Shagan Associates, Inc.
ERRAND INTO THE MAZE
Choreography by Martha Graham
Music by Gian Carlo Menotti†
Lighting by Lauren Libretti
Costumes by Maria Garcia
Premiere: February 28, 1947, Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City
There is an errand into the maze of the heart’s darkness in order to face and do battle with the Creature of Fear. There is the accomplishment of the errand, the instant of triumph, and the emergence from the dark.
So Young An Lorenzo Pagano
†Used by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.
DIVERSION OF ANGELS
Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham
Music by Norman Dello Joio†
Original Lighting by Jean Rosenthal
Adapted by Beverly Emmons
Premiere: August 13, 1948, Palmer Auditorium, New London, CT
Martha Graham once described Diversion of Angels as three aspects of love: the couple in white represents mature love in perfect balance; red, erotic love; and yellow, adolescent love. The dance follows no story. Its action takes place in the imaginary garden love creates for itself. The ballet was originally called Wilderness Stair.
“It is the place of the Rock and the Ladder, the raven, the blessing, the tempter, the rose. It is the wish of the single-hearted, the undivided; play after the spirit’s labor; games, flights, fancies, configurations of the lover’s intention; the believed Possibility, at once strenuous and tender; humors of innocence, garlands, evangels, Joy on the Wilderness Stair, diversion of angels.” – Ben Belitt
The Couple in White Leslie Andrea Williams, Alessio Crognale
The Couple in Red Anne O’Donnell, Lloyd Mayor
The Couple in Yellow Marzia Memoli, Richard Villaverde
Laurel Dalley Smith Devin Loh
Anne Souder Kate Reyes
†Used by arrangement with Carl Fischer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.
CANTICLE FOR INNOCENT COMEDIANS
Inspired by the work from 1952 by Martha Graham
New production conceived by Janet Eilber
Lead Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Choreography for vignettes by Alleyne Dance, Sir Robert Cohan, Jenn Freeman, Martha Graham, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor, and Yin Yue
Music by Jason Moran
Costumes by Karen Young
Lighting by Yi-Chung Chen
Premiere: March 19, 2022, The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at California State University, Northridge
This is a dance of joy, in praise of the world as it turns.
Laurel Dalley Smith Natasha M. Diamond-Walker
Lloyd Knight Jacob Larsen Lloyd Mayor Anne O’Donnell Lorenzo Pagano
Anne Souder Richard Villaverde Leslie Andrea Williams Xin Ying
Opening Dance and all Interludes for the Ensemble
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Leslie Andrea Williams
Choreography by Alleyne Dance
Lloyd Knight Richard Villaverde
Choreography by Sir Robert Cohan
Choreography by Juliano Nunes
Anne Souder Xin Ying
Choreography by Yin Yue
Jacob Larsen Lorenzo Pagano Richard Villaverde
Choreography by Martha Graham
Lloyd Knight Anne O’Donnell
Choreography by Micaela Taylor
Laurel Dalley Smith Lloyd Mayor
Choreography by Jenn Freeman
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Support for the Martha Graham Dance Company
Major support for the Martha Graham Dance Company is provided by Howard Gilman Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the New York State Legislature.
The Artists employed in this production are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists AFL-CIO.
In the tradition of its founder, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance remains committed to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist organization, and will honor this pledge through its ongoing practices, policies and behaviors.