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Support our landmark 90th anniversary season: The Next 90!
Support our landmark 90th anniversary season: The Next 90!
Support our landmark 90th anniversary season: The Next 90!
347 backers pledged $32,835 to help bring this project to life.

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Martha Graham Dance Company Presents: The Next 90!

$32,835

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Update! Special opportunity for backers!

Aurelie Dupont, longtime star of the Paris Opera Ballet was recently named as its Director! She will perform "Lament" from Acts of Light and Appalachian Spring in the Graham Company’s Gala Performance on April 18. Read on to see how you can be a part of this historic night. 

The Martha Graham Dance Company celebrates its 90th anniversary with The Next 90!, marking nearly a century of innovation in modern dance and American art. 

In 1926 Martha Graham created a company that would go on to shape modern dance for generations to come. Often collaborating with other artistic leaders of her time, Martha Graham created some of the first masterpieces of the art form and developed a technique that embraces the natural expressiveness of the  body.

Today the Company continues Graham’s legacy, showcasing her masterpieces alongside brand new dances by today’s top choreographers. The Next 90! – yes, the Company’s 90th anniversary season – is filled with exciting, creative and ambitious events. 

On the occasion of this special milestone, the Company is bringing back Graham classics that haven’t been seen in years, commissioning brand new works from top choreographers Marie Chouinard, Mats Ek, and Pontus Lidberg, and restoring stage sets designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi. In addition the New York Season (April 14-18) will include live music every night by The Mannes Orchestra, introducing a new educational partnership with The New School’s Mannes School of Music in NYC.

We want you to be part of it, and we need your help. We are raising $90K to celebrate 90 years. We have $30K from our Board, $30K from foundation support – and the last $30K comes from hundreds of Kickstarter supporters. We hope you will be one of them!

Erick Hawkins, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Sophie Maslow, Jane Dudley, Nina Fonaroff, Ethel Butler, Pearl Lang, and an unknown dancer in "Deaths and Entrances."
Erick Hawkins, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Sophie Maslow, Jane Dudley, Nina Fonaroff, Ethel Butler, Pearl Lang, and an unknown dancer in "Deaths and Entrances."
Lloyd Knight, Lorenzo Pagano and Xin Ying in "Depak Ine" by Nacho Duato. Photo by Christopher Jones
Lloyd Knight, Lorenzo Pagano and Xin Ying in "Depak Ine" by Nacho Duato. Photo by Christopher Jones

We love Kickstarter because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate and honor the followers and patrons who have helped get us this far, and reach out to those new to Martha Graham and her legacy. In this celebratory 90th year, we plan to go bigger than ever and bring Graham fans – old and new – behind the scenes, into our archives, and even on tour!

As a Kickstarter backer you will have rare access to intimate studio events, artistic tutorials, and the chance to make your own Graham dance to share with the world!

We hope you will join us in celebrating our nine-decade run and help us shape The Next 90!

Back us early if you are in the NYC area! We're inviting you to a one-time studio event on Tuesday February 9th. The evening will feature a live open rehearsal of Martha Graham's Night Journey and the chance to explore our historic Isamu Noguchi sets. Learn about their famed collaboration through anecdotes from Martha Graham Artistic Director Janet Eilber and the Noguchi Museum Senior Curator Dakin Hart.

We hope you'll check out all of our rewards for both local fans and those around the world (see the right of the page). All backers $5 and above receive the $5 reward package, including digital photos from our archives, project updates and more! Here are some of our personal favorites:

  • Tickets to Opening Night or Gala Performance
    New York City Center April 14 or 18
  • Original Print Photographs from our Archives (examples below)
    Back early to request a print from your favorite photographer!
(Left) Peggy Lyman and Donlin Foreman in "Night Journey." Photo by Martha Swope. (Right) Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins in "Night Journey." Photographer unknown
(Left) Peggy Lyman and Donlin Foreman in "Night Journey." Photo by Martha Swope. (Right) Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins in "Night Journey." Photographer unknown
Rudolf Nureyev in "Appalachian Spring." Photo by Martha Swope
Rudolf Nureyev in "Appalachian Spring." Photo by Martha Swope
  • Choreographic feedback from Graham Master Teacher
  • Party with Artistic Director Janet Eilber
  • Join the Company on tour in Cuba 
  • Signed portrait of Martha Graham by famed photographer Hiro 

Our New York Season has many costs and, as with any non-profit dance company, ticket sales cover less than half.

As a Kickstarter backer your support will go directly towards commissioning expenses for new choreographers, supporting our dancers and production team, and the creation of new sets and costumes.

Note: The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by the law.

Looking for another way to get involved? 

Join the 90th anniversary celebration by posting your own Graham-inspired video to Instagram. Be sure to include the hashtag #gramyourgraham

Check out the @marthagrahamschool Instagram for details and a series of tutorials as the month goes on. 

We’ll pick our five favorite videos, and then send them back to you to vote on a winner. The most popular #gramyourgraham choreography will be performed by Graham dancers and shared on the Company's Instagram, Facebook, and website.

Janet Eilber: (Artistic Director) has been the Center’s artistic director since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to the Graham masterworks. These initiatives include designing contextual programming, educational and community partnerships, use of new media, commissions and creative events such as the Lamentation Variations and Prelude and Revolt. She has also remixed Graham choreography and created new staging in the Graham style for theater/dance productions of The Bacchae and Prometheus Bound. Earlier in her career, as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Ms. Eilber worked closely with Martha Graham. She danced many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles created for her by Graham, and was directed by Graham in most of the major roles of the repertoire. She soloed at the White House, was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, starred in three segments of Dance in America, and has since taught, lectured, and directed Graham ballets internationally. Apart from her work with Graham, Eilber has performed in films, on television and on Broadway directed by such greats as Agnes deMille and Bob Fosse and has received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance. She has served as Director of Arts Education for the Dana Foundation, guiding the Foundation’s support for Teaching Artist training and contributing regularly to its arts education publications. Eilber is a Trustee Emeritus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She is married to screenwriter/director John Warren, with whom she has two daughters, Madeline and Eva.

Photo courtesy of NYC Dance Project
Photo courtesy of NYC Dance Project

The Next 90! Season Choreographers

Marie Chouinard: In 1978, Montreal choreographer Marie Chouinard presented her first dance work, Cristallisation, establishing her reputation as a highly original artist. This work was followed by thirty solos, performed for international audiences. In 1990, Ms. Chouinard founded her own company, COMPAGNIE MARIE CHOUINARD. COMPAGNIE MARIE CHOUINARD co-produces its pieces with different partners such as the Venice Biennale, the ImPulsTanz Dance Festival (Vienna), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), the Fondazione Musica Per Roma (Rome), Festival TransAmériques (Montreal), Place des Arts (Montreal), and the National Arts Centre (Ottawa). Marie Chouinard has won several awards for her contribution to the arts, including the the Order of Canada (2007), the Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal (2006), the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2009), the prix Denise-Pelletier (Quebec, 2010), the Prix culturel Samuel de Champlain (France, 2014), the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec (2015) and the Ordre national du Québec (2015).

Swedish choreographer, filmmaker and dancer Pontus Lidberg has created more than 35 works for major international dance companies, such as Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, SemperOper Ballet Dresden, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Beijing Dance Theatre, The Royal Swedish Ballet, Morphoses, and for his own group Pontus Lidberg Dance. Mr. Lidberg is most recognized for his dance film The Rain for which he received numerous awards around the world. , has created more than 35 works for major international dance companies, such as Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, SemperOper Ballet Dresden, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Beijing Dance Theatre, The Royal Swedish Ballet, Morphoses, and for his own group Pontus Lidberg Dance. Mr. Lidberg is most recognized for his dance film The Rain for which he received numerous awards around the world.

Mats Ek: With a diverse body of work, ranging from short pieces that explore psychological subjects, to full-length ballets such as Giselle and Rome and Juliet, Mats Ek has been developing his expressionist style for nearly four decades. Although his chosen subjects can be dark, his work is often laced with subtle humor. Mr. Ek is the son of celebrated actor Ander Ek, and choreographer Birgit Cullberg, founder of the ballet company that bore her name. Following an early career as an actor, Mr. Ek began his own dance training as a teenager, joining the Cullberg Ballet in 1972 and eventually became its sole artistic director in 1985. Additionally, he has worked extensively as a dancer and choreographer with Nederlans Dans Theater.

Martha Graham Dancers

The Martha Graham Dancers at the Great Wall of China
The Martha Graham Dancers at the Great Wall of China

Principals: PeiJu Chien-Pott, Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch, Lloyd Knight, Mariya Dashkina Maddux, Ben Schultz, Blakeley White-McGuire
Soloists: Abdiel Jacobsen, Ari Mayzick, Xin Ying  
Dancers: Charlotte Landreau, Lloyd Mayor, Lauren Newman, Anne O’Donnell, Lorenzo Pagano, and Konstantina Xintara
Apprentices: Guyonn Auriau, Leon Cobb, Laurel Dalley Smith, Tim Delporte, Anne Souder, Leslie Williams 

New York Season Information

The Martha Graham Dance Company at New York City Center
April 14-18, 2016

Repertory April 14-17, 8pm 
(see NYCC website for daily program)
Night Journey Martha Graham
Cave of the Heart Martha Graham
Appalachian Spring Martha Graham
Chronicle Martha Graham
AXE (New York Premiere) Mats Ek
New Work (World Premiere) Marie Chouinard
Echo Andonis Foniadakis
Rust Nacho Duato
New Work (NY Premiere) Pontus Lidberg

Gala Program April 18, 7pm
Special 90th Anniversary Program opens with a selection of Graham highlights, including: Tanagra, Heretic, Celebration, Lamentation, the “Lament” from Acts of Light, and an excerpt from Appalachian Spring. Also on the program: the New York premiere of a new work by Pontus Lidberg, and the Graham masterwork Chronicle. Special guest star: Aurélie Dupont.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Video Credits

Martha Graham Dance Company new commissions, in order of appearance:
  • "Echo" by Andonis Foniadakis
  • "Rust" by Nacho Duato
  • "Axe" by Mats Ek
  • "The Snow Falls in the Winter" by Annie B Parson
  • "Lamentation Variation" by Kyle Abraham
  • "Lamentation Variation" by Sonya Tayeh
Graham influence clips, in order of appearance: 
  • Beyonce in "Ghost." Written and produced by Beyonce and Boots
  • Madonna, photographed by Peter Lindbergh in a Martha Graham Tribute spread in Harper's Bazaar, 2014
  • Olivia and the Fairy Princess by Ian Falconer
  • Martha Graham Google Doodle
  • Screenprints of Martha Graham by Andy Warhol
  • Robin Williams in The Birdcage directed by Mike Nichols

Special thanks to David Prottas for his extraordinary work on the video and to Sarahlynn McInerney for her incredible efforts to locate and identify archival photos!

Martha Graham in "Cave of the Heart." Photo by Philippe Halsman
Martha Graham in "Cave of the Heart." Photo by Philippe Halsman

Risks and challenges

In dance there are always challenges associated with performance. We rely on our dancers' bodies and health, and face logistical challenges such as the transportation of sets and materials. Once the curtain goes up, anything can happen -- the on-stage experience is always one of a kind.

With 90 years of experience, and many performances at New York City Center under our belt, we have tackled everything from missed cues to natural disasters. The show will go on!

We're confident that we will provide a memorable 90th anniversary season and we're excited to share the experience with you.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Receive access to exclusive updates including:
    - New and archival photographs of Graham dancers, Martha Graham at her 90th birthday party, Graham with her first group of dancers in 1926 and much more!
    - Videos of rehearsal footage.
    - Archival scans of ephemera from the Martha Graham Archives including costume patterns and sketches, letters from Martha Graham, and more!

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    One beginner Graham Technique class (1.5 hours) at the Martha Graham School in the West Village

    Pick one of 3 dates:
    - Monday March 7, 6:30pm
    - Tuesday March 8, 7:00pm
    - Wednesday March 9, 6:30pm

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    Company poster featuring Principal Dancers Tadej Brdnik, Katherine Crockett or Xin Ying.

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    Exclusive video tutorial: learn to make a Graham rehearsal skirt from Martha Graham’s Wardrobe Supervisor Barbara Delo. Will be emailed directly to backers at this level.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    BACK EARLY to attend the February 9th "Graham and Noguchi Up Close" event at the Martha Graham Studio Theater!
    Watch an open rehearsal of Graham's "Night Journey" and then hear from Graham Artistic Director Janet Eilber and Senior Curator of the Noguchi Museum Dakin Hart about the famed collaboration between Martha Graham and Isamu Noguchi.
    This will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore and touch the Noguchi sets for "Night Journey," "Herodiade" and "Cave of the Heart" up close.
    February 9th, 6:15pm

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    Limited edition hardcover Moleskine notebook (lined paper, size large) with Martha Graham quote “Dance is the Hidden Language of the Soul” engraved on the cover. Also includes Katherine Crockett as Clytemnestra on paper band and matching book mark.

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    Balcony ticket to Opening Night of the New York Season at New York City Center.
    April 14, 8pm
    (for pair, see $70 benefit)

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    Special Edition 90th Anniversary Graham T-shirt!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Exclusive Archival Video Premiere: "90 Years in 90 Seconds."
    Video will premiere exclusively at our 90th anniversary Gala on April 18 and will be sent to Kickstarter backers at the same time!

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Two balcony tickets to Opening Night of the New York Season at New York City Center
    April 14, 8pm
    (for single ticket, see $35 benefit)

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Pair of balcony tickets to special Gala Performance of New York Season at New York City Center
    April 18, 7pm

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    Special Edition 90th Anniversary Graham hoodie!

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    Visit to observe an Advanced Graham Technique and Repertory demonstration from top students at the Martha Graham School in the West Village
    March 30th, 5:30-6:30pm

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    Exclusive opportunity to photograph the Martha Graham dancers in tech rehearsal at SUNY Purchase on February 20

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    10-class card for use on any dance classes at the Martha Graham School

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    Rare, original print of historical company photograph from our archive (Not a reproduction!). Photographers include Aart Klein, Angus McBean, Arnold Eagle, Cris Alexander, Johan Elbers, Kristin Lodoen, Lois Greenfield, Martha Swope, Michelle Ballantini, Milton Oleaga, Phillippe Halsman, Tom Brazil, and photographer unknown.
    Back early to request a print from your favorite photographer! (We'll do our best to honor your request.)

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    Choreographic feedback from Graham Master Teacher.
    Send in a 10-minute video of your work and receive detailed feedback from a Graham Master Teacher.

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    GOLD TICKET PACKAGE: Two front row tickets to Opening Night of the New York Season at New York City Center, with a toast during intermission in the Patrons Lounge.
    April 14, 8pm

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    PLATINUM TICKET PACKAGE: Two front row tickets to Opening Night of the New York Season at New York City Center, with a toast during intermission in the Patrons Lounge ... and backstage passes!
    April 14, 8pm

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    Los Angeles: Two performance tickets and backstage passes to touring performance at USC Bovard Auditorium.
    April 27, 2016 7:30.

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    Santa Barbara: Two performance tickets and backstage passes to touring performance in Santa Barbara.
    April 30, 2016.

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    Seattle: Two performance tickets and backstage passes to touring performance at the University of Washington.
    May 5-7, 2016 8pm.

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    FRIDAY PLATINUM TICKET PACKAGE: Two front row tickets to Friday April 15th performance of the New York Season at New York City Center, with a toast during intermission in the Patrons Lounge ... and backstage passes!
    April 15, 8pm

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    SATURDAY PLATINUM TICKET PACKAGE: Two front row tickets to Saturday April 16th performance of the New York Season at New York City Center, with a toast during intermission in the Patrons Lounge ... and backstage passes!
    April 16, 8pm

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    Cocktails with the Artistic Director: An intimate event and season preview with Artistic Director and former Graham Principal Dancer Janet Eilber in our historic space in the West Village.
    March 15, 6:30pm.

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    Inspire your local school with the next generation of dancers. Bring Graham 2, our pre-professional company, into a New York City school for a master class, lecture and creative experience.

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    One backer only! EXCLUSIVE GALA DINNER AND PERFORMANCE TICKETS. Two Gala tickets, including premium seats to the performance -- and special seating at the Gala Dinner at the University Club next to a Martha Graham Principal dancer or a guest artist!
    April 18, 2016 - 7pm
    New York City Center
    The University Club

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    Framed portrait photograph of Martha Graham signed by Martha herself! Photograph by famed photographer Hiro.
    (We will discuss delivery options directly with backer to ensure safe and secure arrival.)

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Join the Company on tour in Cuba at the 25th International Ballet Festival of Havana, October 2016. Join Graham patrons for a fascinating view of the city of Havana through a cultural lens with exclusive events at the Gran Teatro de la Habana, talks with Cuban luminaries, dinners with Company artists, and stunning performances.
    Includes accommodations, entertainment and excursions; airfare is not included.
    For further details contact Craig Badinger at 212-229-9200 x29.

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Funding period

- (30 days)