The Martha Graham Dance Company (Janet Eilber, Artistic Director; LaRue Allen, Executive Director) will present 15 performances at The Joyce Theater, February 20-March 3, 2013. The season continues the company's innovative thematic presentations with Myth and Transformation-three compelling programs that explore how artists reinvent iconic stories to make bold contemporary statements. The two-week season features Graham masterworks including Phaedra, Cave of the Heart, Night Journey, Errand into the Maze, and Diversion of Angels alongside new commissions and premieres from Richard Move, Luca Veggetti, and Doug Varone. A reconstruction of a Graham solo, Imperial Gesture (1935), will also be presented. Performances will take place Wednesday, February 20 to Sunday, February 24; and Tuesday, February 26 to Sunday, March 3.
Program A will feature a revival of Graham's erotic 1962 work Phaedra, with a commissioned score by Robert Starer and sculptural decor by Isamu Noguchi, Graham's longtime collaborator. It is the first performance of the work in a decade. Graham's personal take on the classic tragedy about illicit love, Phaedra created a sensation when it premiered in the 1960s and was almost banned from touring internationally when it was denounced by some members of Congress for its overt sexuality.
Phaedra is paired with the season's centerpiece, The Show (Achilles Heels), a dance-theater work created, choreographed, and directed by Richard Move, and originally commissioned by the White Oak Dance Project in 2002. The Show... is Move's strikingly contemporary interpretation of the Greek legend of Achilles, the electrifying hero of Homer's Iliad. Combining dance, text, and pop culture references from Hollywood glamour to reality TV, The Show... brings into dramatic focus the story's timeless themes of war, honor, love, vengeance, fame, and glory. The Show... features an original score by Arto Lindsay with songs by Deborah Harry and Blondie, and scenic art by painter Nicole Eisenman.
Program B is an All-Graham program featuring three of Graham's greatest Greek-themed masterworks. Set to an evocative score by Samuel Barber, Cave of the Heart (1946) is a startling look at the destructive power of love inspired by the story of Medea. Night Journey (1947), with music by William Schumann, is Graham's reworking of the Oedipus tale told through the eyes of his mother and wife, Jocasta. Both works integrate set pieces by Noguchi and costumes by Graham. Completing the program is The Errand into the Maze Project, a new production of Errand into the Maze (1947) presented without the classic sets and costumes which were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Errand into the Maze is loosely based on the Greek myth of Theseus and is set to a score by Gian Carlo Menotti. The new arrangement, directed by Luca Veggetti with Graham principal dancer Miki Orihara, uses the absence of the set and costumes to offer the audience a fresh look at Graham's choreography unadorned.
Program C will feature Luca Veggetti's From the Grammar of Dreams, created specifically for the Company and Myth and Transformation. It is set to a score of the same name by celebrated Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, scored for two unaccompanied soprano voices on a series of texts by American poet Sylvia Plath. The dance draws on some of the ideas in the musical composition and explores the often fragmented structure of actions and events in dreams.