Inside the Martha Graham Dance Company's 90th Season

The Martha Graham Dance Company turns 90—NINETY—this year. Like most things that have survived for the better part of a century, it has an incredibly rich history. Unlike most 90-year-olds, though, it still knows how to throw a heck of a birthday party.

What does a Graham-style anniversary celebration look like? Well, it kicked off last Thursday at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where MGDC is performing a series of programs that include Graham classics commissioned by the Library (Appalachian Spring and Cave of the Heart among them) and a brand-new work by edgy Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg. And it'll continue later in April, during the MGDC's NYC season. (Fun fact: April 18, the day Lidberg's work will have its NYC premiere, is the exact day when, 90 years ago, Graham mounted her first concert in the Big Apple.)

In a way, Lidberg's creation, Woodland, follows in the MGDC tradition: Like many Graham works, it's a) set to a score by a mid-century composer (Irving Fine) and b) co-commissioned by the Library of Congress. But based on the glimpses of the piece that we get in a new behind-the-scenes film by Ezra Hurwitz, Lidberg is taking the Graham dancers in some interesting new directions, too. And it's thrilling to watch these fantastic artists explore a different side of their artistry. We're used to seeing them like this...

...but Lidberg shows them to us like THIS:

Watch the full video, which includes great interviews with Lidberg and MGDC artistic director Janet Eilber, below. And if you're in D.C. or NYC, get your tickets to the 90th anniversary season now. Because the only way to really experience the power of Graham is to see the Graham company live.

Want more Dance Spirit?

Latest Posts


Boston Ballet principal Seo Hye Han as Cinderella in Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella (Liza Voll, courtesy Boston Ballet)

5 Principal Dancers on the Ballet Steps That Still Challenge Them

Their technique might seem effortless onstage, but even the most seasoned ballet professionals have that one step that still drives them crazy. We asked five principal dancers to open up about the skills they still find challenging, and how they're working to finesse them.

Keep Reading
Hosts Trevor Tordjman and Ariel Martin in "Disney Fam Jam" (Disney Channel/Eric McCandless)

Behind the Scenes of the Dance-Filled "Disney Fam Jam"

The ever-dancy Disney Channel just dropped yet another dancetastic show. "Disney Fam Jam," a family dance competition inspired by choreographer Phil Wright's viral parent-and-kid dance classes, premiered last night. Each episode features two families battling it out on the dance floor to see who'll earn a $10,000 prize. And the show is co-hosted by Zombies 2 stars Ariel Martin and Trevor Tordjman—standout dancers in their own right.

Keep Reading
Raffaele Morra of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in The Dying Swan (Roberto Ricci, courtesy Les Ballets Trockadero)

Why More and More Men Are Dancing on Pointe

Like many professional dancers, New York City Ballet's Gilbert Bolden III is totally used to sharing pics and vids of his dancing on social media. But in the fall of 2018, the corps de ballet member hesitated before posting one particular clip. "I was extremely nervous the first time I posted a video of me dancing on pointe," he remembers. "It felt like a big step—almost like coming out. But not a single person was shady or unwelcoming!"

Once pretty much limited to women, pointe shoes are now being donned by more and more male-identifying dancers—for reasons as diverse as the dancers themselves. If you, too, are a pointe-curious guy, allow Bolden and other amazing male dancers to point(e) you in the right direction.

Keep Reading
contest
Enter the Cover Model Search