A promotional photo of Martha Graham Dance Company.
America's oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance troupe will perform in China for the first time in its 82 years of history.
The Martha Graham Dance Company will present two set of programs, covering two themes and ten repertoires, from November 27 to 30 at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA).
The theme on November 27 and 28 is named "Mythology &Fable." It interprets several ancient tales in a modern style.
Those tales include "Errand to the Maze," which explores human fear through the myth of Ariadne and the Minotaur, and "Diversions of Angels" which reveals the depth of love in different colours. "Night Journey" is an inspiration by the story of Odepius and Jocasta, and "Acts of Light", choreographed by Graham at 88, takes its title from a letter written by one of her favourite poets, Emily Dickinson.
And then on November 29 and 30, the "American Chronicle" theme will hit the stage. Six dramas created by the legendary choreographer will showcase, from "Serenata Morisca", which brought Graham fame at the age of 22, to her last work "Maple Leaf Rag", choreographed in 1985 when she was 91.
Wu Nan, a project manager with the NCPA, said six months were spent choosing the programs.
"We sent an invitation to the dance company one year ago to squeeze into their tight schedule, and they finally agreed to sacrifice the thanksgiving holiday for a China tour," Wu added.
Martha Graham (1894-1991) is a giant of modern dance. She has choreographed 181 dance dramas and received awards including America's Medal of Freedom. Her impact on dance has been compared to that of Picasso's on painting.
"Her fierce choreography sometimes amazed and sometimes horrified, but in it she embodied modern dance — arrogantly and spectacularly." This was the comment from Time magazine when it listed Graham as "Dancer of the Century" in 1998.
The Martha Graham Dance Company was founded in 1926 and has performed all over the world.