Tomorrow, 80 years to the day after the groundbreaking company's debut, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Martha Graham Ensemble will perform at NYU's Skirball Center starting at 7:30 p.m. The gala program includes Graham's Three Gopi Maidens, which was on the company's first program, and her Heratic, Lamentation, Satyric Festival Song, and Steps in the Street, as well as works by her mentors Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn.
Special guest dancers will also appear; dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov will serve as honorary chair.
The company will repeat the gala program at the Skirball Center without guest dancers on April 20 at 8 p.m. On April 19, it will present "From the Horses's Mouth," a series of "reflections and improvisations" by Graham dancers and critics.
On April 18, Peggy Lyman and other Graham dancers will lead a master class at the 92nd Street Y. On April 21, the company will present a free event at the Y examining the collaboration between Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and sculptor Isamu Mogouchi on Appalachian Spring.
Between April 18 and April 21, a dancer will perform Lamentation in a window at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Performances will take place three times between noon at 1 p.m. each day.
On April 21, dancers will perform Graham's Satyric Festival Song and Deep Song at the Guggenheim Museum starting at 12:30 p.m. The performance is free with admission to the museum. Also at the Guggenheim, a dancer will perform Lamentation on April 25 at 6: 30 p.m. as part of an exploration of the work of artist David Smith.
Founded in 1926, the Graham company has performed in more than 50 countries; its alumni include such modern-dance luminaries as Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor. After Graham's death in 1991, the company was paralyzed by a legal battle with Ronald Protas, Graham's designated heir. Eventually courts ruled that most of Graham's work belonged to the company, and thus could not be bequeathed to Protas.
For more information visit marthagraham.org. For information about the 92nd Street Y events, called 212-415-5553.