History Meets the Future: Martha Graham and Dance Theatre of Harlem

BY ELIZABETH ZIMMER | After three quiescent years, the Manhattan dance scene is picking up speed. There’s almost too much to do, too much to see. Here are two offerings not to be missed. (A new column with more must-sees will publish soon.)

Martha Graham Dance Company in “Canticle for Innocent Comedians.” | Photo by Luis Luque

MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY: April 18-30 | This venerable modern company, now 97 years old, continues to evolve, taking in new talent even as it burnishes Graham’s iconic works. New dances by diverse choreographers like Baye & Asa, Annie Rigney, and Hofesh Shechter stud three different programs during the troupe’s two-week season at the Joyce.

Also on display is the retooled Canticle for Innocent Comedians, taking off from Graham’s 1952 work, re-envisioned by choreographer Sonya Tayeh, enfolding vignettes by Alleyne Dance, Jenn Freeman, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor, and Yin Yue, as well as the late Robert Cohan, who was a member of the original cast; one section has Graham’s original choreography. The new version has a commissioned score by superb jazz pianist Jason Moran.

April 18-30, at the Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave. at W. 19th St.). For tickets ($16-$81), call 212-242-0800 or click here. To visit the Martha Graham Dance Company website, click here

Dance Theatre of Harlem in “Sounds of Hazel.” | Photo by Jeff Cravotta

DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM: April 19-23 | It’s a peak moment for Dance Theatre of Harlem: the second artistic director, company alum Virginia Johnson, is leaving after 10 years at the helm, to be succeeded in early summer by Robert Garland, longtime resident choreographer and school director. The troupe’s five-day season includes a premiere by Tiffany Rea-Fisher celebrating the life and work of civil rights activist and classical/jazz musician Hazel Scott, set to an original score created by New York-based DJ and composer Erica Blunt; new work by international choreographic star William Forsythe (Blake Works IV), and dances by Christopher Wheeldon, Nacho Duato, Helen Pickett, Stanton Welch, and Garland himself, as well as Allegro Brillante by company godfather George Balanchine.

April 19-23 at New York City Center (131 W. 55th St.). For tickets ($35), click here or call 212-581-1212. Special events include pre-show DJ and dancing on the Grand Tier, Divine Nine/HBCU Night and a post-performance talkback with soon-to-be Artistic Director Emerita Virginia Johnson (Friday), and a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the relaunched Company and Virginia Johnson’s final season as Artistic Director (Sunday).


Chelsea Community News is an independent, hyperlocal news, arts, events, info, and opinion website made possible with the help of our awesome advertisers and the support of our readers. Our Promise: Never a paywall, no pop-up ads, all content is FREE. With that in mind, if circumstances allow, please consider taking part in our GoFundMe campaign (click here). To make a direct donation, give feedback, send a Letter to the Editor, or contact our founder/editor, email Scott Stiffler, via scott@chelseacommunitynews.com.

To join our subscriber list, click here. It’s a free service providing regular (weekly, at least) Enewsletters containing links to recently published content. Subscribers also will be sent email with “Sponsored Content” in the subject line. That means it’s an exclusive message from one of our advertisers, whose support, like yours, allows us to offer all content free of charge.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login