[EN] Martha Graham single-handedly defined contemporary dance. By focusing on the basic activities of the human form, Martha Graham enlivened the body with raw, electric emotion. Today, the Martha Graham Dance Company showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. Janet Eilber 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 and she brings a unique repertoire of four pieces to the Grand Théâtre.

The Dark Meadow Suite showcases highlights from the 1946 Dark Meadow. The suite, is designed to feature Graham’s exceptional choreography. Both the unison dancing and the partnering have been recognised as some of Graham’s most architectural, ritualistic and profound creations. They are clearly inspired by Martha Graham’s love of the rituals of the natives of both the American Southwest and Mexico, which she observed as a young woman. The Mexican composer Carlos Chávez wrote the spacious musical score. It is an abstract work about life’s journey and the search for connection with one’s self and one’s community. Ekstasis is thought to be the 87th creation by Graham. In an interview, Martha Graham explained that the genesis of this dance came from a pelvic thrust gesture that she discovered. This led her to explore “a cycle of distortion” that she found deeply meaningful. There is little documentation of this original solo except for a few photos. Virginie Mecene has researched and reimagined the version of Ekstasis being performed. The Lamentation Variations is an event that was originally conceived to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11.

The work opens with a 1940s film. We see Graham dancing movements from her then new, and now iconic, solo, Lamentation. The variations were developed under specific creative conditions. Each choreographer was asked to create a spontaneous choreographic reaction to the Graham film. Originally only to be performed once, the audience reception for the Lamentation Variations was such that it has been added to the permanent repertory. Chronicle premiered in December, 1936 and was a response to the menace of fascism in Europe. Graham had refused an invitation to take part in the Olympic Games in Germany earlier that year. Chronicle is one of the very explicitly political ideas, but this dance is not a realistic depiction of events. The intent is to universalise the tragedy of war.

[FR] Martha Graham (1894-1991): après Pina Bausch, c’est une autre chorégraphe essentielle qui vient revivre au Grand Théâtre.

La chorégraphe américaine a défini à elle seule la danse contemporaine, d’abord comme une forme d’art américaine unique, qui s’est ensuite universalisée. Elle a pour cela collaboré avec les plus grands musiciens, plasticiens et comédiens.

Sa danse s’est fondée sur son expérimentation des mouvements élémentaires de contraction et de libération. Elle a impulsé aux corps une émotion brute, éléctrique, caractérisée par des mouvements aigus, angulaires et directs, en absolu contraste avec le style dominant de l’époque. Durant sa longue carrière, Martha Graham a créé 181 productions, qui lui ont valu de multiples et prestigieuses récompenses. Elle a influencé des générations de chorégraphes et danseurs comme Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Rudolf Noureev, Mikhail Barychnikov. La Martha Graham Dance Company, créé en 1926 et aujourd’hui dirigée par Janet Eilber, a été un chef de file du développement de la danse contemporaine. Aujourd’hui, elle continue à mettre en valeur les chefs-d’œuvre de Martha Graham aux côtés d’œuvres de chorégraphes contemporains.

Le programme proposé au Grand Théâtre nous offre une magnifique occasion de nous immerger dans l’univers de Martha Graham, un superbe voyage dans le temps: 90 Years in 90 seconds – un petit film –, Dark Meadow Suite (1946), Ektasis (1933), Chronicle (1936).

[DE] 181 Tanzstücke hat Martha Graham (1894-1991), vom Time Magazine zur „Tänzerin des Jahrhunderts“ ernannt, in ihrer langen Karriere choreographiert. Ihre Kompanie besteht bis heute – unter der künstlerischen Leitung von Janet Eilber. Nach einem Kurzfilm über 90 Jahre in 90 Sekunden gibt es eine Auswahl historischer Produktionen zu sehen, die teilweise nach alten Filmaufnahmen rekonstruiert wurden. Auf dem Programm stehen Ekstasis von 1933, die von Ritualen amerikanischer Ureinwohner inspirierte Dark Meadow Suite (1946) und die Trilogie Chronicle (1936). Darin setzt sich Graham, nachdem sie eine Einladung zu den Olympischen Spielen in Berlin abgelehnt hat, mit dem aufkommenden Faschismus und einem drohenden Krieg auseinander. Ein neueres Stück vervollständigt den Abend: Die Lamentation Variations entstanden im Jahr 2007 zum Gedenken an die Anschlage vom 11. September 2001 in den USA.



Choreography & Costumes by Martha Graham
Arrangement by Janet Eilber
Music by Carlos Chávez
Lighting by Nick Hung
Premiere January 23, 1946, Plymouth Theatre, New York City

Choreography by
Martha Graham
reimagined by Virginie Mécène
Costume by Martha Graham
Original Music by Lehman Engel
Music for Ekstasis (reimagined) by Ramon Humet†
Premiere May 4, 1933, Guild Theatre, New York City


Choreography & 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 December 20, 1936, Guild Theatre, New York City

I. Spectre – 1914 Drums – Red Shroud – Lament

II. Steps in the Street Devastation – Homelessness – Exile

III. Prelude to Action Unity – Pledge to the Future

Artistic Director Janet Eilber
Executive Director LaRue Allen
Senior Artistic Associate Denise Vale

Major support for the Martha Graham Dance Company is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The 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 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

Samedi 3 FÉVRIER 2018 à 20h00 (tickets)
Dimanche 4 FÉVRIER 2018 à 17h00 (tickets)

DURÉE 1h20 & entracte

Adultes 25 €, 20 €, 15 € / Jeunes 8 € / Kulturpass bienvenu

Lieu: Grand Théâtre / Grande Salle

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