Martha Graham Dance Company performs classic repertoire for sold-out show
The Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest and most celebrated modern dance company in America, brings a sold-out performance to the Virginia Tech campus, featuring classics from the Graham repertoire including “Appalachian Spring,” “Lamentation Variations,” “Errand into the Maze,” and other works.
The event is presented by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech.
The performance, which is on Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m., will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
Founded in 1926, the Martha Graham Dance Company has expanded contemporary dance’s vocabulary of movement and forever altered the scope of the art form.
The company’s “Classic Graham” features a performance of their historic piece choreographed to Aaron Copland's “Appalachian Spring,” which chronicles the celebration of springtime in the wilderness by a variety of characters. “Lamentation Variations” is an event that was conceived in 2007 to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. The work is based on a film from the early 1930s of Martha Graham dancing movements from “Lamentation,” her then new, and now iconic, solo. The choreographers of this piece were each invited to create a movement study in reaction to the Graham film for the current company of Graham dancers.
The day prior to the performance, dancers from the company will lead a master class with students from Radford University’s Department of Dance and members of several Virginia Tech dance groups. In addition, Janet Eilber, artistic director for the Martha Graham Dance Company, will offer a pre-performance question-and-answer session with over 160 students from the School of Architecture + Design, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
Eilber has been the company’s artistic director since 2005 and she has focused on creating new forms of audience access to Martha Graham’s masterworks. These initiatives include designing contextual programming, educational and community partnerships, use of new media, commissions, and creative events. Earlier in her career as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, 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.
Martha Graham has had a deep and lasting impact on American art and culture. She defined contemporary dance as a uniquely American art form, which the nation has in turn shared with the world. Crossing artistic boundaries, she collaborated with and commissioned work from the leading visual artists, musicians, and designers of her day. Graham influenced generations of choreographers and classical ballet dancers sought her out to broaden their artistry. She taught actors including Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Madonna, Liza Minelli, and Gregory Peck to utilize their bodies as expressive instruments. During her long and illustrious career, Graham created 181 dance compositions.
The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding. Today, the company continues to foster Graham’s spirit of ingenuity. It embraces a new vision that showcases classics by Graham, her contemporaries, and their successors, alongside newly commissioned works. The company is actively working to create new platforms for contemporary dance and multiple points of access for audiences.
Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Event parking for visitors is $5. Event passes may be purchased in advance through the Center for the Arts box office or when entering the garage on event evenings. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.