Martha Graham Dance Company | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Martha Graham Dance Company 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

For an icon, Martha Graham doesn't get around much. She died in 1991 at the age of 96, but of course I'm not talking about the person. Her company hasn't appeared here since 1992, at Ravinia, and according to Ravinia's then executive director Zarin Mehta, the troupe was a tough sell. In a way Graham has been a victim of her own success: because her distinctive choreography is instantly recognizable, it's easily parodied and clearly associated with the art of a half century ago. Yet she's a true touchstone, someone who almost single-handedly transformed the pretty "exotic" dancing of the early 20th century into stark, serious modernist moves. Last spring the New Yorker's Joan Acocella reported that the company's current artistic director, Janet Eilber, wants to "contextualize" Graham's work to make it seem classic rather than old-fashioned. The evening programs here consist of seminal pieces from Graham's middle period, all with sets by American sculptor Isamu Noguchi: 1944's Appalachian Spring, 1947's Errand Into the Maze, and 1958's Embattled Garden. The Saturday matinee consists of solos from the 20s and 30s, rare archival footage of other early works, and selections from Appalachian Spring, performed with voice-over by Eilber. a Opens Thu 4/19, 7:30 PM. Through 4/21: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, theater, 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010, Thu $36, Fri-Sat evening $40, Sat matinee $24, students $10. See listing for related events.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/John Deane.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 08
Performing Arts
April 24

Popular Stories