Happy anniversary, Martha

Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins and the Martha Graham Dance Company in Graham's "Appalachian Spring.” Courtesy the Library of Congress.

Happy 90th birthday to the Martha Graham Dance Company, which is celebrating in a big way. From April 14 through 18, the company performs at New York City Center, presenting several of Graham’s most important works, including “Chronicle” (1936), “Appalachian Spring” (1944), “Cave of the Heart” (1946), “Lamentation” (1930), and “Night Journey” (1947). As part of a new educational partnership, all of the music for the Graham classics will be played by The Mannes Orchestra, led by artistic director David Hayes.

The season also includes premieres of commissioned works by choreographers Marie Chouinard, Mats Ek, and Pontus Lidberg, and recent dances created for the company by Nacho Duato and Andonis Foniadakis.

The gala program on April 18 – the anniversary of Graham’s first public performance with her company in 1926 – will feature eight works from that year to 2016. Aurélie Dupont, a former étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet, will perform with the company on the gala evening.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 14 through 16, and 7 p.m. Monday, April 18 at City Center, 131 W. 55th St. (between Sixth and Seventh avenues). Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased through CityTix at 212-581-1212 or nycitycenter.org. For information about tickets for the gala performance and dinner, contact Amanda Hameline at 212-229-9200, ext. 25, or ahameline@marthagraham.org.

Prior to the gala on April 18, there will be a marathon reading of Graham’s fiercely evocative memoir, “Blood Memory,” from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at The New York Library for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. The event brings together a group of women from the dance world to give voice to Graham’s words. The lineup of readers includes Patricia Birch, Carmen DeLavallade, Michelle Dorrance, Liz Gerring, Ellen Graff, Virginia Johnson, Deborah Jowitt, Annie-B Parson, Tiler Peck, Wendy Perron, Valda Setterfield, Sonya Tayeh, Wendy Whelan, and Marni Thomas Wood. For more, visit nypl.org/LPA.

And for more on Graham and “Appalachian Spring,” look for WAG’s May “Celebrating Spring” issue. – Georgette Gouveia

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