Martha Graham Dance Co.’s 2016-17 Season

Pontus Lidberg’s WoodlandEarlier this summer, the Martha Graham Dance Company announced its 2016–17 Season. The company’s tour kicks off this month and includes performances in 12 cities across the U.S., a performance residency in Madrid, and a weeklong engagement in Cuba, where the company will perform as part of the renowned Havana International Ballet Festival. The company’s New York season will take place at the Joyce Theater in February 2017. The season also includes six events as part of the company’s popular Graham Studio Series, which offers audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the company at work in the intimate setting of the Martha Graham Studio Theater.


A highlight of the season is the company’s engagement at the Havana International Ballet Festival in October 2016. Having performed in Cuba only once (in 1943), the company is thrilled to return to participate in this historic festival’s 25th season. The company will present two programs of mixed repertory in Havana at the Teatro Mella and will also participate in the festival’s Gala at the Gran Teatro de la Habana. Graham’s Maple Leaf Rag and Pontus Lidberg’s Woodland will be performed. As part of the tour, the company will engage in cultural exchange activities with dance students.


Martha Graham’s Diversion of AngelsThe company’s two-week season at the Joyce, titled Sacred/Profane, contrasts ritualistic and mystical dances with those that consider the emotional interactions of everyday life. Masterworks include selections from: Graham’s Dark Meadow, absent from the Graham stage for over 10 years; Primitive Mysteries, reflecting the purity found in the virgin mythos of the Southwest; Diversion of Angels, a joyous, lyrical, abstract essay on the infinite aspects of love to music by Norman Dello Joio; and Deaths and Entrances, influenced by the Gothic vision of the Brontë sisters. The program also features a new work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who draws on Sufi mysticism to create a piece set to traditional Middle Eastern music, and the premiere of Annie-B Parson’s I Used to Love You, inspired by Graham’s Punch and the Judy and exploring the domestic rough-and-tumble of the street theater classic. The season runs February 14–26, 2017.


Other highlights of the season include performances at the E. Turner Stump Theater at Kent State University where the company will present a program honoring Halim El-Dabh, composer of the score for Graham’s full-evening work Clytemnestra. The company will perform the second act of Clytemnestra along with an excerpt from Lucifer, which Graham originally created for Rudolf Nureyev and which is also scored by El-Dabh.


In the spring, a special program, Martha Graham and American Music, will take the stage at Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, CA. The performance will feature live music performed by the ensemble wild Up, under the direction of conductor Christopher Roundtree. The evening includes Cave of the Heart (music by Samuel Barber), Maple Leaf Rag (music by Scott Joplin) and Lidberg’s Woodland (2016), commissioned by the Library of Congress and set to music by Irving Fine.


Maurizio Nardi, Lloyd Knight and Blakeley White-McGuireThe company will also perform at Memorial Auditorium at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The engagement continues a longtime partnership with Carolina Performing Arts, which has commissioned several company works, including the latest by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.


Also on the schedule are performances in Chicago, IL; Richmond, McLean and Fairfax, VA; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA; Stony Brook, NY; and Portland, OR.


Three GrahamDeconstructed events will be presented this season, offering audiences an opportunity to view the great Graham works up close and to hear about the artistic and historical context of their creation from Artistic Director Janet Eilber. The program offers a glimpse of the artistic labor that goes on every day at the studios to preserve and augment Graham’s legacy. This season will feature Dark Meadow Suite, Clytemnestra (Act ll) and Deaths and Entrances.


Two New@Graham programs will provide audiences with a look inside the creative process of new works commissioned by the company. A conversation with Eilber and the commissioned choreographer will follow each respective showing.


The company will also host a book launch for NYC Dance Project’s new photography book The Art of Movement. The event is part of the company’s new Shoot the Dancers series in which audience members are invited to photograph the world-renowned Graham dancers. A reception will follow each event.


City Winery is the Graham Studio Series wine sponsor for the 2016–17 Season. A subscription series for the studio events will be offered this season for the first time. For more information about the subscription, visit


Martha Graham Dance Company 2016–17 Schedule



– August 23–25: Chicago Dancing Festival, IL 

– September 13–14: GrahamDeconstructed (Dark Meadow Suite)

– September 21–22: Alice Jepson Theatre, Richmond, VA

– September 24: Alden Theatre, McLean, VA

– October 1: Byham Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA

– October 4–5:  GrahamDeconstructed (Clytemnestra, Act II)

– October 8: E. Turner Stump Theater, Kent State University, New Philadelphia, OH

– October 29–November 3: Teatro Mella, Havana, Cuba

– November 3–6: Prince Theater, Philadelphia, PA

– November 30: NYC Dance Project Book Launch

– December 13–14: New@Graham (Annie-B Parson’s I Used to Love You)



– January 11: New@Graham (New work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui)

– February 14–26: The Joyce Theater, New York, NY

– March 23–24: Memorial Auditorium, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

– April 8: Staller Center for the Performing Arts, Stony Brook, NY

– April 28: Concert Hall, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

– May 2–3: GrahamDeconstructed (Deaths and Entrances)

– May 10: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR

– May 13: Valley Performing Arts Center, Northridge, CA

– June 8–11: Teatro Real, Madrid, Spain


All GrahamDeconstructed and New@Graham events will take place at the Martha Graham Studio Theater, located at 55 Bethune Street in Manhattan. Visit for more information.


Photo (top): Martha Graham Dance Company in Pontus Lidberg’s Woodland. Photo by Brigid Pierce. Photo (left): Ying Xin in Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels. Photo by Hibbard Nash Photography. Photo (right): Maurizio Nardi, Lloyd Knight and Blakeley White-McGuire in Graham’s Maple Leaf Rag. Photo by Costas.