The Michigan Daily
Friday, February 6, 1987
Graham Co. kicks off two premieres
By Jose-Arturo Martinez
The advertisement in the May
24, 1931 edition of the Michigan
Daily read, "the Ann Arbor
Dramatic Season, ... featuring
Blanche Yurka, Tom Powers,
Martha Graham, et al." Martha
Graham was a sensation then and
this time doesn't appear to be any
Tonight through Sunday, the
University Musical Society will
host the Martha Graham Dance
Company in performances at the
Power Center for the Performing
This series of Ann Arbor
concerts marks the company's first
national tour in two years and is
scheduled before a trip which will
include the company's first visit to
East Germany. This means that the
Grande Dame herself will not be
coming to Ann Arbor. Graham is
in New York working out details
related to the upcoming tour in East
This series of concerts will
feature a mixture of older works
from the Graham repertoire as well
as the Ann Arbor premieres of
"Temptations of the Moon," first
shown 1986, and "The Rite of
]The Ann Arbor connection to
the New York based Graham
Company is a strong one. Uni -
versity professor of dance, Peter
Sparling, is also a soloist with the
company and performs with them
summers during their New York
seasons. Sparling has danced in a
number of the works being shown
this weekend, including "Plain of
Prayer" which will be presented
Saturday night. It is unusual for a
Graham work because, as Sparling
says, "it has a male protagonist."
"Martha made dances for herself,
to be danced by herself," Sparling
explained, "so, most of the works
had female protagonists." It was
not until the 1960s that she began
to create works with men in mind.
Christine Daikin is another link
in the Ann Arbor/Martha Graham
connection. She's an Ann Arbor
native who has danced for the
Graham Company since 1971 and
who returns to dance in three
works. "Rite of Spring" is a dark,
haunting work that will make its
Ann Arbor premiere tonight with
music by Igor Stravinsky.
Daikin helped create her role in
the dance, and participated to an
extent not common for Graham
dancers. "Martha relied more and
more on me in creating the work"
she said, "she would tell me what
she wanted to portray and then I
would perform it."
What the audience should feel if
they open themselves to the
sensations of the dance is a sense of
guilt for letting the girl die for the
sins of the group, she continued.
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Daikin will also perform in
"Cave of the Heart" Saturday night;
it is a work about jealousy and
hatred and other all-consuming
ugliness that can inhabit the soul.
Samuel Barber composed the music
used in this dance.
"Appalachian Spring" is
Daikin's final work this weekend.
She has danced it with Peter
Sparling, and it is one of the rare
fun pieces about love and joy -
yet it does have its dark side. The
music for the work was created by
American composer Aaron Cope -
"This group has been allowed
more freedom than any other," says
Peter Sparling. "This is a group of
young dancers who will literally
bend over backwards for her. They
enact what Martha is looking for
and then she 'edits."'
After the Ann Arbor per -
formances the company will go on
an extensive tour through Europe.
The highlight of the tour will be
the performances that they will give
in East Berlin. Though not the first
time the company has visited an
Eastern European country, it is
their first visit to this half of
Daikin expressed some concern
over what response they would get
from the East Germans. "I don't
know whether we will have a
theatre full of bureaucrats or if their
will be some of the general
population there," she said. "It's a
question mark but we're looking
forward to going there."
The Martha Graham Company
will perform tonight through
Sunday at the Power Center for the
Performing Arts. Tickets range
from $15-$18 and can be purchased
at UMS Box Office at Burton
Tower or at the door. Showtime is
set for 8 p.m. on Friday and
Saturday, and 3p.m. Sunday.
V$ Elaborate costumes and ritualistic dancing are an integral part of the
Martha Graham Dance Company. They will be performing this weekend
at the Power Center.
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