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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Longest running dance company hits UA

Dance and history will fill Centennial Hall on Tuesday as UApresents helps one of the worlds oldest and most famous contemporary dance companies celebrate its eightieth anniversary.

The Martha Graham Dance Company, based out of New York City, was started by dancer and choreographer Martha Graham in 1926.

Today, the company performs all of Graham’s choreography, many of which still consist of the original costuming, sets and music that she used in her pieces.

Graham is known throughout the dance world for her innovation in contemporary dance.

The company, which consists of 18 dancers, will perform four pieces, three that are original Graham choreography and one that is an adaptation of Graham, said Janet Eilber, artistic director for the company.

“”We’ve got a program that really demonstrates the different dynamics of Graham,”” Eilber said. “”In a way, she was kind of like Picasso. There were many different facets to her work.””

The show will begin with “”Diversion of Angels,”” a piece that Graham choreographed in 1948.

“”This piece represents different kinds of love. In doing so, (Martha) wanted to create a world with no gravity,”” Eilber said. “”Much of the choreography is off center, representing that ‘head over heels’ feeling.””

The piece includes three female leads, all of which represent a different kind of love.

“”There are different perspectives about the piece,”” Eilber said. “”Some people say that the three women are different people and others say that the women are three different facets of one person.””

“”El Penitente”” is a piece that the company is performing solely for the Tucson audience.

“”There was a time in Martha’s life when she was inspired by the Southwest,”” Eilber said. “”I wanted to make sure that we included this piece for Tucson.””

It was originally choreographed in 1940.

“”It features all different aspects of the southwest – Catholicism, the Natives and pieces of Martha,”” Eilber said. “”It is primitive art brought to life.””

“”Artent Song Redux”” is a new contemporary piece based off of Graham’s “”Artent Song.”” Since there was no record of the original piece, dancers from the original number were consulted for the remake, Eilber said. The piece premiered in June and features Graham’s original score.

“”It is a very contemporary version of Martha,”” said Eilber.

“”Sketches from Chronicle”” will close the show and was inspired by World War I.

“”It is amazing,”” Eilber said. “”It makes a powerful political statement that is still very relevant today.””

The show will be held Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Tickets range from $30-$50 and are $20 for students, senior citizens and military. For more information, call 621-3341 or visit

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