Martha Graham Dance Company to visit UMass FAC Nov. 18

Date: 11/7/2014

AMHERST – Martha Graham Dance Company is one of the oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance companies on the planet.

The venerated choreographer and dancer drew her groundbreaking style from the elemental movements of contraction and release, leading to a sharp, raw and dramatic style of contemporary dance.

Nearly nine decades later, the company she founded continues to perform pioneering new works, as well as classic Graham favorites.

The Martha Graham Dance Company visits Amherst Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m., performing at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass).

Audience members are also invited to a 6:30 p.m. pre-performance talk at the University Club, with Billbob Brown, associate professor of dance at UMass.

When the Martha Graham Dance Company comes to the Fine Arts Center (FAC), the repertoire will include renowned Graham classics and one new work that premiered in March 2014.

The newly commissioned work Echo by choreographer Adonis Foniadakis is based on the themes of love, vanity and reflection in the myth of Narcissus and Echo.

The company will also perform Diversion of Angels, Graham’s exploration of love danced by three couples, followed by Lamentation Variations, a 2007 work created by several choreographers reacting to an early 1940s film of Graham’s iconic solo, Lamentation.

Also in the repertoire will be Errand into the Maze, Graham’s reimagining (a heroine instead of a hero) of the mythic battle between Theseus and the Minotaur in the labyrinth.

Described by The Washington Post as “one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe,” and by The New York Times as “one of the great companies of the world,” the Martha Graham Dance Company has created a style and energy that is uniquely its own.

Iconic masterpieces such as Appalachian Spring, The Rite of Spring, and Clytemnestra are rooted in social, political, psychological and sensual contexts, expanding the vocabulary of contemporary dance.

The company’s distinctive style has earned acclaim from audiences in more than 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

During her long and illustrious career, Graham created 181 dance compositions, influencing generations of choreographers from Paul Taylor to Twyla Tharp.

During the Bicentennial she was granted the United States’ highest civilian honor, The Medal of Freedom, and in 1998 was named “Dancer of the Century” by TIME Magazine.

Tickets for Martha Graham Dance Company at the FAC are $50, $45, $15; Five College, GCC and 17 and under $15, $12, $10.

For tickets call the box office at 545-2511, toll-free at 800-999-UMAS, or purchase online at fineartscenter.com.

The FAC’s season is sponsored by Baystate Health and Health New England, with additional event support coming from Applewood and Preview Magazine.

The presentation of the Martha Graham Dance Company was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.