A Modern Dance Master: Choregus Productions Offers the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Tulsa PAC

Sep 15, 2014

The lasting and widespread influence that choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991) had on the world of dance has been likened to the impact that Pablo Picasso had on painting, or that Aaron Copland had on music, or that Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. In other words, it's an influence that clearly continues to this day; Graham is commonly seen as a visionary who all but created what we now call modern dance, and who shaped the ideas and careers of countless dancers who came after her. Therefore the Martha Graham Dance Company, based in New York City, has been a leader in cutting-edge dance since its founding in 1926. This coming weekend, that special company will appear in Tulsa -- as presented by the local non-profit Choregus Productions, the Martha Graham Dance Company will perform at the Tulsa PAC's Chapman Music Hall on Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st. (More info, including show times and ticket details, can be found here.) Our guest on this edition of ST is Janet Eilber, who's been the company's artistic director since 2005. Earlier in her career, as a principal dancer with the company, Eilber worked with Martha Graham, and she looks back on those heady times with us today. But she also speaks about how this company strives not simply to recreate Graham's body-movement masterpieces of the 1930s and '40s but, moreover, to commission and present the work of contemporary choreographers "with their own voices and their own physical vocabularies." And so the company's two shows here in Tulsa will include not only "Lamentation" (which premiered in 1930) and "Diversion of Angels" (which premiered in 1948) but also "Echo" (with choreography by Andonis Foniadakis, and which had its world premiere earlier this year) and "The Rite of Spring" (the Stravinsky juggernaut that Graham herself danced in in 1930 and then created her own choreography for in 1984).