The Martha Graham Dance Company celebrates the long and dynamic relationship between the pioneering modern dance choreographer and Greece this summer as the American troupe embarks on a mini summer tour across the country with a performance program that promises a few surprises.
The US ensemble’s Greek stops include appearances in Nafplio in the Peloponnese (July 5 at Faros at 9 p.m.), the northern port city of Thessaloniki (July 7 and 8 at the Lazariston Monastery, 9 p.m.), the Ionian island of Ithaca (July 10) and Athens (July 12). In the capital the ensemble will perform at the Herod Atticus Theater as part of this year’s Greek Festival program. The performance begins at 9 p.m.
It is customary for the company to develop its artistic program for the season around a specific subject. “Myth and Metamorphosis” was the theme selected this year with the troupe paying tribute to Greece with “Celebrating the Greek Connection,” a series of works inspired by timeless Greek myths.
A passionate lover of Greece and Greek culture, Graham (1894-1991) fell under the spell of Greek drama heroes and heroines, with Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Jason, Medea, Penelope and Ulysses and their stories becoming a fundamental source of inspiration for her work. A large portion of the emblematic dancer, choreographer and teacher’s oeuvre was defined by Greek themes.
Graham is credited with creating a singular movement language based on the body’s capacity for expression. She founded the Martha Graham Studio in 1926, a place which remained under her guidance for the next 66 years. Crossing creative boundaries, Graham worked with and commissioned projects from a variety of artists and designers ranging from fashion players Halston, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein to composers Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti. Within her own field she influenced choreographers and dancers such as Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp and worked with classical ballet stars Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Graham’s choreography repertoire includes 181 works.
The Martha Graham Dance Company’s Greek program includes “Errand” (originally choreographed by Graham in 1947 it was revamped by the company in 2013), “Echo,” a choreography by Andonis Foniadakis commissioned especially for the company, as well as “Panorama,” a signature Martha Graham choreography performed by company dancers as well as Greek National School of Dance students.
Proceeds from the troupe’s final Greek performance at the Herod Atticus Theater on July 12 will benefit charity organization Lifeline Hellas (www.lifelinegr.org) for the support of neonatal intensive-care units at the state regional hospitals on Crete and in Patra, Larissa, Ioannina and Alexandroupoli.
The performance is held under the auspices and in the presence of Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, who is the patron of Lifeline.
For more information, go to www.greekfestival.gr.