The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a world leader in the evolving art form of modern dance since its founding in 1926. Today, the Company is embracing a new programming vision that showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. During its 96-year history, the Company has received acclaim from audiences and critics in more than 50 countries.
The Northrop program includes the Martha Graham masterpiece, Chronicle; CAVE, a new work by Hofesh Shechter featuring Daniil Simkin, principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre; and the Northrop Centennial Commission, Canticle for Innocent Comedians, an extraordinary new collaboration inspired by the themes and format of the lost Graham work from 1952. This regional debut by eight choreographers includes Lead Choreographer Sonya Tayeh with Alleyne Dance, Yin Yue, Jenn Freeman, Micaela Taylor, and Juliano Nunes, plus an original score by jazz pianist and composer, Jason Moran.
This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.
"These men and women easily embody the choreographer’s sense of dancers as angelic athletes” —Robert Greskovic, The Wall Street Journal
“This is contemporary dance at its very best.” —Marina Kennedy, Broadway World
“Can this please never go away?” —Siobhan Burke, The New York Times
Arrive early and enjoy music performed by a String Trio! U of M alumni will perform from 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm in the lobby on the west side.
- Mikki Hutchinson, violin, UMN 2013 alumi - MM, Violin Performance
- Ava Lambert, cello, UMN 2019 alumni - BM, Cello Performance; BS, Chemistry
- Tasha Montzka, violin, UMN 2019 alumni - BM, Music Education
Greetings! Welcome to this very special performance by Martha Graham Dance Company. It feels like a blessing and a gift to be sitting here with you in person, a simple thing that has taken on new significance these last two years.
This performance is emblematic of the pandemic’s silver linings. Martha Graham Dance Company was scheduled to perform at Northrop on April 4, 2020, just two weeks after the world shut down. The arrival of COVID-19 forced us all to reimagine our relationship to live performances and large gatherings and to reconstruct the ways that audiences and artists connected. While many of our performances moved to various online formats, others, such as Martha Graham Dance Company, faced cancellation or indefinite postponement. Instead, we made lemonade and the Northrop Centennial Commissions program was born. This program provided eight companies, whose performances were either canceled or postponed, with residencies and financial support to create new work, while simultaneously offering our communities opportunities to engage with the artists throughout the process. This transformational program will continue to support at least one company each year, acting as a runway to Northrop’s centennial anniversary in 2029—leaving a legacy of new work to be appreciated for generations to come. Now, two full years after their originally scheduled performance, Northrop is very proud to present Martha Graham and to be a commissioner of the company’s new work, Canticle for Innocent Comedians, making its regional debut tonight on our stage.
I want to give a special thanks to our subscribers and donors. You helped to make tonight's performance possible. When performances were canceled due to the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, 239 of you donated the value of your tickets to Northrop. These ticket donations were the seeds that became the Northrop Commissioning Project Fund. If you donated your ticket back to Northrop, thank you for dreaming big with us. I invite you to learn more about the Northrop Centennial Commissions program, our current projects, and how you can support the ongoing creation of new work. And we hope that you can celebrate with us on June 2 at our ENCORE gala featuring Limón Dance Company along with live music, delicious food and drinks, and of course, dancing. Proceeds from the ENCORE gala will provide funding for future Northrop Centennial Commissions projects, supporting the creation of new dance works, elevating artists, and bringing extraordinary presentations to our stage.Thank you, and enjoy tonight’s performance.
Director of Northrop
Natasha M. Diamond-Walker
So Young An
Laurel Dalley Smith
Leslie Andrea Williams
with special Guest Star
Senior Artistic Associate
Major support for the Martha Graham Dance Company is provided by
Howard Gilman Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the New York State Legislature
The artists employed in this production are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists AFL-CIO.
In the tradition of its founder, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance remains committed to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist organization, and will honor this pledge through its ongoing practices, policies and behaviors.
Copyright to all Martha Graham dances presented by the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc.
All rights reserved.
LaRue Allen, Executive Director
Janet Eilber, Artistic Director
Denise Vale, Senior Artistic Associate
Simona Ferrara, General Manager
Mariola Briales, Company Manager
Fran Kirmser, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Events
A. Apostol, Director of Development Operations
Joyce Herring, Director of Martha Graham Resources
Melissa Sherwood, Director of Marketing
Stephanie Shin, Assistant to the Executive Director
Malinda Logan, Development Associate
Rebecca Kimock, Administrative Assistant
Haejin Han, Production Supervisor
Yi-Chung Chen,Llighting Supervisor
Caleb Krieg, Wardrobe Supervisor
Karen Young, Costume Consultant
Jennifer Patten, Head of School
Tami Alesson, Dean of Students and Government Affairs
Virginie Mécène, Program Director/director of Graham 2
Lone Larsen, Program Director
Amélie Bénard, Teens@Graham Program Director
Maxwell Louis Waterman, Teens@Graham Program Director
Yejin Lee, School Marketing Assistant
Janet Stapleton, Press Agent
Elizabeth Auclair, Amélie Bénard, Tadej Brdnik, Susan Kikuchi, Lone Larsen, Peggy Lyman, Virginie Mécène, Miki Orihara, Ben Schultz, Marni Thomas, Oliver Tobin, Ken Topping, Denise Vale, Blakeley White-McGuire
Board of Trustees
Lorraine S. Oler, Chairman
Javier Morgado, vice-chair
Inger Witter, president
Barbara Cohen, development chairman
Judith G. Schlosser, chairman emeritus
LaRue Allen, executive director
Janet Eilber, artistic director
Con Way Ling
Stephen M. Rooks
North American Representation
Rena Shagan Associates, Inc.
If you or someone you know has ever performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company or attended classes at the Martha Graham School, please send us names, addresses, telephone numbers and approximate dates of membership. We will add you to our alumni mailing list and keep you apprised of alumni events and benefits. Call +1(212-229-9200) or email email@example.com.
The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance is a not-for-profit corporation, supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Contributions in support of the Martha Graham Center will be gratefully received at the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc., 55 Bethune Street New York, NY 10014, or visit marthagraham.org/contribute.
For more information, visit marthagraham.org
Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham
Music by Wallingford Riegger†
Original lighting by Jean Rosenthal
Lighting for reconstruction (Steps in the Street) by David Finley
Lighting for reconstruction (Spectre–1914, Prelude to Action) by Steven L. Shelley
Premiere: Dec 20, 1936, Guild Theater, New York City
Chronicle does not attempt to show the actualities of war; rather does it, by evoking war’s images, set forth the fateful prelude to war, portray the devastation of spirit which it leaves in its wake, and suggest an answer. (Original program note)
II. Steps in the Street
So Young An
Laurel Dalley Smith
Natasha M. Diamond-Walker
Leslie Andrea Williams
III. Prelude to Action
Unity—Pledge to the Future
So Young An
Laurel Dalley Smith
Natasha M. Diamond-Walker
Leslie Andrea Williams
Spectre–1914 reconstructed in 1994 by Terese Capucilli and Carol Fried, from film clips and Barbara Morgan photographs. Steps in the Street reconstructed in 1989 by Yuriko and Martha Graham, from the Julien Bryan film discovered by Dr. Barry Fischer. Prelude to Action reconstructed in 1994 by Sophie Maslow, with Terese Capucilli, Carol Fried, and Diane Gray, from film clips and Morgan photographs.
†Finale from New Dance, Opus 18b (for Steps in the Street), originally composed for Doris Humphrey, orchestrated by Justin Dello Joio, used by arrangement with Associated Music Publishers, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Additional orchestrations by Stanley Sussman.
CANTICLE FOR INNOCENT COMEDIANS
Inspired by the work from 1952 by Martha Graham
New production conceived by Janet Eilber
Lead Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Choreography for vignettes by Alleyne Dance, Sir Robert Cohan, Jenn Freeman, Martha Graham, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor, and Yin Yue
Music by Jason Moran †
Costumes by Karen Young
Lighting by Yi-Chung Chen
Associate Choreographer: Jenn Freeman
Premiere: Mar 19, 2022, The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at California State University, Northridge
“This is a dance of joy, in praise of the world as it turns.”
So Young An
Laurel Dalley Smith
Natasha M. Diamond-Walker
Leslie Andrea Williams
Opening Dance and all Interludes for the Ensemble
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Choreography by Alleyne Dance
Choreography by Sir Robert Cohan
Laurel Dalley Smith
Choreography by Juliano Nunes
Choreography by Yin Yue
Leslie Andrea Williams
Choreography by Martha Graham
So Young An
Choreography by Micaela Taylor
Choreography by Jenn Freeman
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Major support for Canticle for Innocent Comedians was provided by Tee Scatuorchio & Michael Becker.
This work was made possible with a significant commissioning grant from The O'Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation and was commissioned by The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts with support from Jazz Road | South Arts Grant, the California State University Northridge and Northrop Auditorium at The University of Minnesota.
Additional support was provided by Kenneth Bloom & Abby Meiselman, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
A creative residency was sponsored by The Church, Sag Harbor.
†Music recorded at Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, California State University, Northridge.
Choreography by Hofesh Shechter
Creative Producer: Daniil Simkin
Music by Âme and Hofesh Shechter
Costumes by Caleb Krieg
Lighting by Yi-Chung Chen
Choreography Assistant: Kim Kohlmann
World Premiere: Apr 6, 2022, in New York City Center
So Young An
Laurel Dalley Smith
Anne O’DonnellLorenzo Pagano
Leslie Andrea Williams
CAVE was made possible with a significant commissioning grant from The O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation.
Major support for CAVE was provided by the Clayton-Royer Family Fund, Sharon Patrick, Monica Voldstad and Jeff & Susan Campbell. Additional support was provided by Christopher Jones, Timothy & Virginia Millhiser, Barbara Goldstein, Perry B. Granoff, Irene Shen and Linda N. Fell.
Production support was provided by Vassar College.
Co-Producing support provided by Studio Simkin and Sharing Spaces.
Notes On The Repertory
Chronicle premiered at the Guild Theater in New York City on Dec 20, 1936. The dance was a response to the menace of fascism in Europe; earlier that year, Graham had refused an invitation to take part in the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany, stating: “I would find it impossible to dance in Germany at the present time. So many artists whom I respect and admire have been persecuted, have been deprived of the right to work for ridiculous and unsatisfactory reasons, that I should consider it impossible to identify myself, by accepting the invitation, with the regime that has made such things possible. In addition, some of my concert group would not be welcomed in Germany” (a reference to the fact that many members of her group were Jewish). “Chronicle does not attempt to show the actualities of war; rather does it, by evoking war’s images, set forth the fateful prelude to war, portray the devastation of spirit which it leaves in its wake, and suggest an answer.” This is one of the very few dances Martha Graham made which can be said to express explicitly political ideas, but, unlike Immediate Tragedy (1937) and Deep Song (1937), dances she made in response to the Spanish Civil War, this dance is not a realistic depiction of events. The intent is to universalize the tragedy of war. The original dance, with a score by Wallingford Riegger, was forty minutes in length, divided into five sections: Dances before Catastrophe: Spectre–1914 and Masque, Dances after Catastrophe: Steps in the Street and Tragic Holiday, and Prelude to Action. The dance disappeared from the repertory in 1937 and was thought to be lost. In 1985, Barry Fischer discovered a film by Julien Bryan of the original cast of Steps in the Street, which he reconstructed at NYU as part of his doctoral research. Since that discovery, the Company has reconstructed and now performs Spectre–1914, Steps in the Street and Prelude to Action.
CANTICLE FOR INNOCENT COMEDIANS
Martha Graham created Canticle for Innocent Comedians in 1952, taking the title and inspiration from the 1938 poem by Ben Belitt, her old friend and colleague at the Bennington School of the Dance. The multifaceted work was built around eight virtuosic vignettes for the stars of the Graham Company, each celebrating a different element of nature: Sun, Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Moon, Stars and Death. The work was well received, reputed to have been magical; however, there is only a fragmented record remaining, and it is considered lost.
This 2022 Canticle for Innocent Comedians is a reimagining of the original. The choreography is completely new but draws upon Graham’s stylistic blueprint. The vignettes have been re-made for today’s Graham stars by eight dance-makers from diverse backgrounds. Fortunately, Graham’s staging of Moon was filmed in the 1950s and is included in the new production.
A lyrical, percussive, ruminative score has been created by the great jazz pianist, Jason Moran.
The lead choreographer, Emmy and Tony award winner Sonya Tayeh, has designed the connective tissue for this eclectic assemblage – in the words of the original poem, “that binds the halves of first and last/To single troth, in time” -- for the dancers of the Ensemble, weaving in and out of the sections in a manner reminiscent of a Greek chorus, and resonating with many Graham classics.
The costumes by Karen Young are inspired by voluminous, swirling shapes that Graham often used for the costumes she herself designed. They are fabricated from recycled plastic bottles to add to the conversation about the eternal values of nature -- and our responsibilities to the planet.
This high-energy work by Hofesh Shechter emerged out of an idea brought to the Graham Company by the international dance star Daniil Simkin. Daniil was interested in taking the dance that is part of the techno club scene to a new level and finding a way to integrate choreographed movement into a Rave style event. As a prelude to this larger idea, Hofesh Shechter was invited to create a dance for the proscenium stage for the Graham dancers. The result is a visceral collective movement experience, with a powerful, swirling shared kinetic energy.
Martha Graham is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th Century alongside Picasso, Stravinsky, James Joyce, and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1998 TIME Magazine named Martha Graham as the “Dancer of the Century,” and People Magazine named her among the female “Icons of the Century.” As a choreographer, she was as prolific as she was complex. She created 181 ballets and a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude. Many of the great modern and ballet choreographers have studied the Martha Graham Technique or have been members of her company.
Martha Graham’s extraordinary artistic legacy has often been compared to Stanislavsky’s Art Theatre in Moscow and the Grand Kabuki Theatre of Japan, for its diversity and breadth. Her legacy is perpetuated in performance by the members of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Martha Graham Ensemble, and by the students of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.
In 1926, Martha Graham founded her dance company and school, living and working out of a tiny Carnegie Hall studio in midtown Manhattan. In developing her technique, Martha Graham experimented endlessly with basic human movement, beginning with the most elemental movements of contraction and release. Using these principles as the foundation for her technique, she built a vocabulary of movement that would “increase the emotional activity of the dancer’s body.” Martha Graham’s dancing and choreography exposed the depths of human emotion through movements that were sharp, angular, jagged, and direct. The dance world was forever altered by Martha Graham’s vision, which has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for generations of dance and theatre artists.
Martha Graham’s ballets were inspired by a wide variety of sources, including modern painting, the American frontier, religious ceremonies of Native Americans, and Greek mythology. Many of her most important roles portray great women of history and mythology: Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Medea, Phaedra, Joan of Arc, and Emily Dickinson. As an artist, Martha Graham conceived each new work in its entirety – dance, costumes, and music. During her 70 years of creating dances, Martha Graham collaborated with such artists as sculptor Isamu Noguchi; actor and director John Houseman; fashion designers Halston, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein; and renowned composers including Aaron Copland, Louis Horst (her mentor), Samuel Barber, William Schuman, Carlos Surinach, Norman Dello Joio, and Gian Carlo Menotti. Her company was the training ground for many future modern choreographers, including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. She created roles for classical ballet stars such as Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, welcoming them as guests into her company. In charge of movement and dance at The Neighborhood Playhouse, she taught actors including Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Tony Randall, Anne Jackson, and Joanne Woodward how to use the body as an expressive instrument.
Her uniquely American vision and creative genius earned her numerous honors and awards such as the Laurel Leaf of the American Composers Alliance in 1959 for her service to music. Her colleagues in theater, the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One, voted her the recipient of the 1986 Local One Centennial Award for Dance, not to be awarded for another 100 years. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford bestowed upon Martha Graham the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, and declared her a “national treasure,” making her the first dancer and choreographer to receive this honor. Another Presidential honor was awarded to Martha Graham in 1985 when President Ronald Reagan designated her among the first recipients of the United States National Medal of Arts.
The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a world leader in the evolving art form of modern dance since its founding in 1926. Today, under the direction of Artistic Director Janet Eilber, the Company is embracing a new programming vision that showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. With programs that offer a rich thematic narrative, the Company creates new platforms for contemporary dance and multiple points of access for audiences.
Since its inception, the Company has received international acclaim from audiences in over 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The Company has performed at such illustrious venues as the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, and Covent Garden, as well as at the base of the Great Pyramids of Egypt and in the ancient Herod Atticus Theatre on the Acropolis in Athens. In addition, the Company has also produced several award-winning films broadcast on PBS and around the world.
Though Martha Graham herself is the best-known alumna of her company, the Company has provided a training ground for some of modern dance’s most celebrated performers and choreographers. Former members of the Company include Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, Paul Taylor, John Butler and Glen Tetley. Among celebrities who have joined the Company in performance are Mikhail Baryshnikov, Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Maya Plisetskaya, Tiler Peck, Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, and Aurelie Dupont.
In recent years, the Company has challenged expectations and experimented with a wide range of offerings beyond its mainstage performances. It has created a series of intimate in-studio events, forged unusual creative partnerships with the likes of SITI Company, Performa, the New Museum, Barney's, and Siracusa’s Greek Theater Festival (to name a few); created substantial digital offerings with Google Arts and Culture, YouTube, and Cennarium; and created a model for reaching new audiences through social media. The astonishing list of artists who have created works for the Graham dancers in the last decade reads like a catalog of must-see choreographers: Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Lucinda Childs, Marie Chouinard, Michelle Dorrance, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Andonis Foniadakis, Liz Gerring, Larry Keigwin, Michael Kliën, Pontus Lidberg, Lil Buck, Lar Lubovitch, Josie Moseley, Richard Move, Bulareyaung Pagarlava, Annie-B Parson, Yvonne Rainer, Sonya Tayeh, Doug Varone, Luca Vegetti, Gwen Welliver, and Robert Wilson.
The current company dancers hail from around the world and, while grounded in their Graham core training, can also slip into the style of contemporary choreographers like a second skin, bringing technical brilliance and artistic nuance to all they do -- from brand new works to Graham classics and those from early pioneers such as Isadora Duncan, Jane Dudley, Anna Sokolow, and Mary Wigman. “Some of the most skilled and powerful dancers you can ever hope to see,” according to the Washington Post last year. “One of the great companies of the world,” says The New York Times, while Los Angeles Times notes, “They seem able to do anything, and to make it look easy as well as poetic.”
JANET EILBER (Artistic Director) has been the Company’s artistic director since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to Martha Graham’s masterworks. These initiatives include contextual programming, educational and community partnerships, use of new media, commissions from today’s top choreographers and creative events such as the Lamentation Variations. Earlier in her career, Ms. 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. She soloed at the White House, was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, starred in three segments of Dance in America, and has since taught, lectured, and directed Graham ballets internationally. Apart from her work with Graham, Ms. Eilber has performed in films, on television, and on Broadway directed by such greats as Agnes deMille and Bob Fosse and has received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance. She has served as Director of Arts Education for the Dana Foundation, guiding the Foundation’s support for Teaching Artist training and contributing regularly to its arts education publications. Ms. Eilber is a Trustee Emeritus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She is married to screenwriter/director John Warren, with whom she has two daughters, Madeline and Eva.
DENISE VALE (Senior Artistic Associate) danced with the Company for ten years dancing many of the major roles of the Graham repertory. She is well known for her performance as Woman in White in Diversion of Angels, and widely acclaimed as the first Leader in the reconstruction of Steps in the Street. She starred in Night Chant, a ballet created for her by Martha Graham, and in the Graham solos Lamentation, Frontier, Satyric Festival Song, and Serenata Morisca. As Senior Artistic Associate, Ms. Vale serves primarily as the rehearsal director for the Martha Graham Company, is on the faculty of the Graham School, and travels throughout the world teaching master classes in the Graham Technique for dancers of all ages and abilities. Ms. Vale also restages the Graham ballets for major dance companies such as Ballet de Lorraine, Ballet Flanders, Semperoper in Dresden, Germany, and the Grand Theater Opera in Lodz, Poland.
LLOYD KNIGHT (Principal) joined the Company in 2005 and performs the major male roles of the Graham repertory including in Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Night Journey, and many others. Dance Magazine named him one of the “Top 25 Dancers to Watch” in 2010 and one of the best performers of 2015. Mr. Knight has starred with ballet greats Wendy Whelan and Misty Copeland in signature Graham duets and has had roles created for him by such renowned artists as Nacho Duato and Pam Tanowitz. He is currently a principal guest artist for The Royal Ballet of Flanders directed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Born in England and raised in Miami, he trained at Miami Conservatory of Ballet and New World School of the Arts.
XIN YING (Principal) joined the Company in 2011 and performs many of Martha Graham’s own roles including in Herodiade, Errand into the Maze, Chronicle, Lamentation, Deep Song, and Cave of the Heart. Ms. Xin has also danced solo roles in Clytemnestra and Diversion of Angels. She has been featured in works created for the Company by Nacho Duato, Pontus Lidberg, Annie-B Parson, Kyle Abraham, Liz Gerring, Maxine Doyle, and Bobbi Jene Smith. Ms. Xin also starred in the Chinese production Dreams and has been commissioned to create new choreography for Co•Lab Dance. Her Instagram account, on which she posts her own improvisations, has thousands of followers.
NATASHA M. DIAMOND-WALKER (Soloist) is from Los Angeles and joined the Company in 2011. A lead in many of Graham’s ballets, most memorably, she was the first Black woman to perform Graham's iconic solo Lamentation in America as a member of the company in 2020. With MGDC she has been a collaborator on original works by Kyle Abraham, Bobbi Jene Smith, Pam Tanowitz, Annie-B Parson, and Nacho Duato, to name a few. In addition to her work at Graham she enjoys her work as both an actress and movement director for TV/Film, and site specific performance. She is the Artistic Director of the Lester Horton Dance Theater in Los Angeles, a private Classical Pilates instructor, and a published writer. She is also an Ailey School/Fordham University alumni.
LLOYD MAYOR (Soloist) is Swiss and British and joined the company in 2012. Mr. Mayor has danced lead roles in the Graham repertoire, including Appalachian Spring, Errand Into the Maze, and Embattled Garden. He has also been featured in works by Kyle Abraham, Nacho Duato, and Pam Tanotwitz. In Jan 2014 Mr. Mayor won the Clive Barnes Dance Award and in 2019 Lloyd Mayor was appointed co-president of the foundation. Former dance critic of the New York Times, Alastair Mcauley wrote that “The attack, sweep and openness of this man’s style is remarkable.”
ANNE O’DONNELL (Soloist) joined the Company in 2014 and performs lead roles in Graham's Appalachian Spring, Dark Meadow Suite, El Penitente, Diversion of Angels, and new works by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith, Pam Tanowitz, Annie-B Parson, Mats Ek, Lar Lubovitch and, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. She danced with Ailey II and Buglisi Dance Theatre and attended Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Program, Glimmerglass Opera Festival, and Springboard Danse Montreal. She appeared on the cover of Dance Spirit's Feb 2016 Issue Young and Modern.
LORENZO PAGANO (Soloist) joined the Company in 2012 and dances lead roles in Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Night Journey, and Diversion of Angels and in contemporary works by Andonis Foniadakis, Lucinda Childs, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Nacho Duato, Pontus Lidberg and Lar Lubovitch. A native of Torino, Italy, he moved to the US and trained as a scholarship student at The School at Jacob’s Pillow and The Martha Graham School. In 2016 Pagano received the Italian International Dance Award for “Male Rising Star”.
ANNE SOUDER (Soloist) joined the Company in 2015 and performs Martha Graham's own roles in Dark Meadow Suite, Chronicle, Deep Song, and Ekstasis. Roles have also been created for her by such luminaries as Marie Chouinard, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Maxine Doyle, and Bobbi Jene Smith. Ms. Souder began her training in Maryville, Tennessee and graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program with a double major in Dance and Theology while performing works by Alvin Ailey, Ron K. Brown, and more. She was also a member of Graham 2 and awarded a Dizzy Feet Foundation scholarship.
SO YOUNG AN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2016. Ms. An received a BFA from Dong-Ah University in Korea. She is the recipient of the 1995 International Arts Award and the Grand Prize at the Korea National Ballet Grand Prix in 2001. She has danced with Korea National Ballet Company and Buglisi Dance Theatre and has also performed works by Yuri Grigorovich, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Mats Ek, Patricia Ruanne, and Samantha Dunster.
ALESSIO CROGNALE (Dancer) is from Abruzzo, Italy and joined the Company in 2017. He began his training in his home town and then pursued his major in Ballet at the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan. Mr. Crognale trained at the Graham School where he graduated in 2016 and was a member of Graham 2. He danced with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in 2016 and 2017.
LAUREL DALLEY SMITH (Dancer) joined the Company in 2015. Performing principal roles in Appalachian Spring, Steps in the Street, Errand into the Maze, Cave of the Heart, and Diversion of Angels. Also Creating new roles with contemporary choreographers Hofesh Shechter, Pam Tanowitz, Bobbi Jene Smith, Annie B Parsons amongst others. Smith guests internationally with Yorke Dance Project, performing work created on her by Sir Robert Cohan, Kim Brandstrup, and Darshan Singh Bhuller.
JACOB LARSEN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2016 and performs featured roles in Appalachian Spring, Diversion of Angels, Secular Games, and Pontus Lidberg’s Woodland. He received his BFA from Marymount Manhattan College performing works by Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Aszure Barton among others. He has worked with Sidra Bell Dance New York, performed works by Alexander Ekman and Banning Boulding at Springboard Danse Montréal 2015, and was a member of Graham 2.
MARZIA MEMOLI (Dancer) from Palermo, Italy, joined the Company in 2016 and performs lead roles in Graham’s El Penitente, Steps in the Street, and works by Pontus Lidberg, Bobbi Jean Smith, Maxine Doyle, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. In 2018 Dance Spirit said she “may be the...Company's newest dancer, but her classical lines and easy grace are already turning heads.” She graduated from the Academy of Teatro Carcano in Milan and the Bejart’s school, where she performed with the Bejart Ballet Lausanne.
RICHARD VILLAVERDE (Dancer) born and raised in Miami, FL, began dancing at the age of 13, privately coached by Maria Eugenia Lorenzo. Richard is a New World School of the Arts graduate and received his B.F.A from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Notably, he was a part of Arsenale della Danza 2012 at La Biennale de Venezia under the direction of Ismael Ivo. He later joined BalletX (2012-2021) where he was featured in works by Matthew Neenan, Dwight Rodan, Nicolo Fonte, Penny Saunders, Cayetano Soto, Trey McIntyre, Jodie Gates, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. He performed at the Vail International Dance Festival, Ballet Sun Valley, Belgrade Dance Festival as well as at Jacob’s Pillow. This is Richard’s first season with Martha Graham.
LESLIE ANDREA WILLIAMS (Dancer) was born in Newport News, VA and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Williams joined the Company just two months after graduating from The Juilliard School in May 2015. Since then, she has performed numerous featured roles in iconic Graham ballets, such as Chronicle, Appalachian Spring, Diversion of Angels, and Embattled Garden. She was recently featured in Dance Magazine as a dancer "On The Rise."
AOI SATO (New Dancer) began her ballet training at Liscombe International Ballet School in Japan. She received a scholarship from Alvin Ailey School where she performed Memoria with the Ailey Company. She has also worked with Dance Spotlight, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Nai-Ni Chen, among others. Aoi joined Graham 2 company in 2017 during this period her favorite roles are the Red Woman in Diversion of Angels, Satyric Festival Song, and Moon duet from Canticle for Innocent Comedians.
DEVIN LOH (Apprentice) From Fanwood, NJ, Ms. Loh holds a BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY. She was named a recipient of the Bert Terborgh Award upon graduation for Leadership and Excellence in Dance. Shortly after, Ms. Loh continued her performance and pedagogical studies at the Martha Graham School, and performed with Graham 2. This is her first season with the company.
KATE REYES (Apprentice) is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, where she received her BFA in Dance. Kate has received further training from Fiorello H, LaGuardia HS, The Martha Graham School, The Taylor School, and Manhattan Youth Ballet. Upon graduating college, Kate joined the Graham 2 company in 2020.
ÂME (Music) In a genre seemingly obsessed with revisiting the past, Âme looks firmly to the future of dance music. The German duo of Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer have evolved continuously since their club-conquering single Rej in 2005, challenging club-goers’ expectations with their conceptually driven and thoroughly visceral music. The duo is also known for strumming at your heartstrings with their recent Innervisions 100 EP, and their glowing and nearly ubiquitous remixes of Howling and Black Rain. Refusing to compromise on their exacting standards, Âme remains at the forefront of electronic music.
HOFESH SHECHTER OBE (Choreographer) is recognized as one of the most exciting artists making stage work today, renowned for composing atmospheric musical scores complimenting the unique physicality of his movement. He is Artistic Director of the UK-based Hofesh Shechter Company, formed in 2008. In 2018, BBC broadcasted his company’s first dance film, Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns, to great acclaim. Shechter received a Tony Award choreography nomination in 2016 and was awarded an honorary OBE in 2018.
DANIIL SIMKIN (Special Guest Star) was born in Russia to a ballet family and grew up in Germany. He joined the Vienna State Opera Ballet as a demi-soloist in 2006 and began his career as an international performer. In 2008, he joined American Ballet Theatre as a soloist and was promoted to principal dancer in 2012, since dancing most major roles in the company’s repertoire. In 2021, Simkin founded the production company Studio Simkin to promote dance across an ever-evolving digital platform.
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A special thank you to our patrons whose generous support makes Northrop's transformative arts experiences possible. Make your mark on Northrop's future by becoming a Friend today, learn more by visiting northrop.umn.edu/support-northrop.
We gratefully acknowledge the support from, Arts Midwest Touring Fund, Minnesota State Arts Board, Marbrook Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the Arts.
We extend a special thank you to our event sponsors PNC Bank, RBC Wealth Management, and HGA.
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The Heritage Society honors and celebrates donors who have made estate and other planned gifts for Northrop at the University of Minnesota.
- Nancy M Allen*
- Jerry L Artz
- John W Follows*
- Stephen Gordon and Pat Gavan-Gordon
- Peter S Lund
- Darlene M Sholtis
NORTHROP’S AEOLIAN-SKINNER ORGAN
Thank you to the generous donors who continue to support programming for Northrop’s beloved Aeolian-Skinner Organ. It is because of you that this magnificent instrument’s voice will be enjoyed by many for years to come.
Terry and Vicki Anderson
J. Michael Barone
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Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
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organ advisory board
J. Michael Barone
Dr. Robert Bruininks
Dee Ann Crossley
Welcome to Northrop! I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the first signs of spring than by joining us for the first glimpse of the Northrop Centennial Commission in this region, Canticle for Innocent Comedians, performed by the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company. We are so grateful for your support and commitment to the work that we do, and the artists we present.
I hope you can also join us for the final performances of Northrop’s 2021-2022 season which includes co-presentations of music and dance events (sometimes both in the same night) with our partners in the Twin Cities arts community. I know you’ll be inspired by these extraordinary offerings, and I invite you to bring family and friends to share these memorable experiences with you.
As we enjoy this performance and look to future events, I invite you to support Northrop’s programs, helping to shine bright lights on our stage. Please consider supporting the important work that Northrop is doing now and in the future to inspire positive change in our world. The Northrop Advisory Board is growing along with new opportunities to engage. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at email@example.com. And please plan to join the Northrop Advisory Board for our ENCORE 2022 gala on Jun 2 featuring a performance by Limón Dance Company, plus delicious food and drinks, live music, dancing, and special guests.
Thank you for attending this performance, and if you see me at the event, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself! I would love to meet you.
Jeff Bieganek, Northrop Advisory Board Chair
The Northrop Advisory Board
The Northrop Advisory Board is committed to the growth and awareness of Northrop’s mission, vision, and the continued future of presenting world-class dance and music in our community. If you would like more information about the advisory board and its work, please contact Cynthia Betz, Director of Development, at 612-626-7554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Bieganek, Chair
Dr. Robert Bruininks
The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.
Explore These Themes
Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested courses.
American Studies/American Cultural Studies/American History
Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
Dance: Modern, Contemporary
Spirituality and Healing
Take a deeper dive into these resources that provide more information about the company of performers, the history of the artform, and where you can learn more about the artistic process!
Start a conversation about the performance, or reflect on the performance, using these questions as inspiration.
Martha Graham created her own physical system - a technique of movements initiated by the torso and using the concepts of “contraction and release” - in order to build emotional activity within the mind, body, and soul. Using this unique dance vocabulary, Graham created over 181 pieces throughout her astounding 70 year career.
- How does the current company continue the legacy of Graham’s innovation that began almost 100 years ago?
- Do you believe it is better for artistic technique to evolve or instead stay completely true to the foundation it is based on?
Martha Graham designed her movements for the stage based on basic elemental human body language – the unconscious movements that reveal what we are thinking or feeling.
- Reflect on how embodying certain movements can change the way you feel or the impression you may give to others.
- After the performance, try out the Graham Technique pose that had the most impact on you in your own body. Reflect on how it made you feel and the way you perceive yourself.
The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance holds the title of being “the longest continuously operating school of dance in the United States and the only one primarily focused on the Martha Graham Technique and repertory.”
- Why is it important to continue teaching these classical techniques to the new generations of dancers?
- How do you predict modern dance will continue to grow, evolve, and adapt to a rapidly shifting twenty-first century global society?
This season, the Martha Graham Dance Company is focusing on the theme of Human/Nature. The Anthropocene is the era on Earth known as the Age of Humans. The Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene describes man’s increasing effect on Earth since 1950. For this performance, to highlight the themes of our symbiotic relationship to nature, the company will be using sustainable fashion practices to design, create, and produce the Canticle for Innocent Comedian costumes.
- How do you envision the future of theatrical costume design and the implementation of more eco-friendly practices within the theatre industry?
- Why is it important to utilize art in order to increase awareness of climate change and express humanity's devastating impact on the natural environment?