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.