Martha Graham Dance Company performs at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts November 19


Martha Graham

The Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University presents the world famous Martha Graham Dance Company on Friday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. There will be a post-show Art-to-Heart Q & A with the company and following that the audience is invited to join the company at a reception in the Quick Center lobby to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Quick Center for the Arts. Tickets are $45, $40 and $35. The Martha Graham Dance Company is an Arts & Minds presentation.

The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926. Informed by the expansive vision of pioneering choreographer Martha Graham, the Company brings to life a timeless and distinctly American style of dance that has influenced generations of artists and continues to captivate audiences. Graham and her Company have expanded contemporary dance's vocabulary of movement and forever altered the scope of the art form by rooting works in contemporary social, political, psychological and sexual contexts, deepening their impact and resonance.

The program at the Quick Center for the Arts is as diverse and timely as any that have built the stellar international reputation for this Company's innovative work.

The evening includes the classic "Appalachian Spring" (1944), for which Aaron Copland wrote the score. In 1942, Martha Graham received a commission for a new ballet to be premiered at the Library of Congress. Graham called the new dance "Appalachian Spring," after a poem by Hart Crane.

Choreographed as the war in Europe was drawing to an end, it captured the imagination of Americans who were beginning to believe in a more prosperous future, a future in which men and women would be united again. With its simple tale of a new life in a new land, the dance embodied hope but it contains a dark side. Critics called it "shining and joyous" and "a testimony to the simple fitness of the human spirit."

The ballet tells the story of a young couple and their wedding day; there is a Husbandman, his Bride, a Pioneer Woman, and a Preacher and his Followers. While basically an optimistic look at the American folk culture and regeneration, Graham allowed the repressive weight of America's Puritan heritage to be expressed through the fire-and-brimstone Preacher and she hints at the problems of raising families in remote and isolated communities through the solemn presence of the Pioneer Woman. Life was not simple and Graham's vision pays homage to that as well.

"Lamentation Variations" was conceived in 2007 to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. The work is based on a film from the early 1930s of Martha Graham dancing movements from her then new, and now iconic, solo, "Lamentation." The choreographers were each invited to create a movement study in reaction to the Graham film for the current company of Graham dancers.

According to Martha Graham, after a performance of her original work a woman in the audience who had recently seen her child killed in an accident visited her. Viewing "Lamentation" enabled her to grieve, as she realized that "grief was a dignified and valid emotion and that I could yield to it without shame."

"Prelude and Revolt" is a suite of dances that traces the emergence of Graham's unique theater and distinctive movement vocabulary from her student days at the Denishawn School - she studied there from 1916 until 1924 - to the stark, explosive imagery of "Steps in the Street" from 1936.

Tickets are available at fairfield.edu/quick or from the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Special offers and discounts are available through the Quick Center's e-mail list. Join, by contacting boxoffice@quickcenter.com. And become a fan of the Quick Center for the Arts on Facebook! Keep up-to-date with the latest performance news, plus special offers and discounts! Find the Quick Center at www.facebook.com/FairfieldQuickCenter.

Directions: Fairfield University is located off I-95, exit 22 at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Access to the Quick Center for the Arts is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Special note: From Oct. 4, 2010 through June 30, 2012, the southern end of North Benson Road (Rt. 135) will be closed to traffic on nights and weekends. Round Hill Road intersects with Barlow and provides access to the Quick Center for the Arts.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 2, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 100