Martha Graham Dance Company Returns to Houston


Larisa Gawlik




Martha Graham Dance Company returns to Houston for the First Time in 15 Years with The EVE Project

The Program honors the centennial of the 19th Amendment with iconic Graham works and new commissions by acclaimed female choreographers

Photo of Xin Ying (soloist) and Martha Graham Dance Company in Martha Graham’s Chronicle by Melissa Sherwood. 

HOUSTON (SEPTEMBER 23, 2019) – Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) presents the world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company on Friday, October 18 at 8 p.m. in Jones Hall for the Performing Arts. The Company returns to Houston for the first time in 15 years with works from The EVE Project, which is a celebration of female empowerment and the centennial of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The EVE Project provides entrée into today’s most pressing conversations about gender and power. New works from several female choreographers have been commissioned, and the classic repertory will feature both Martha Graham’s heroines and anti-heroines—all with an underlying statement about female power.

The evening will feature two of Graham’s own iconic works: Chronicle (1936) and Diversion of Angels (1948). Chronicle, which is performed to music by Wallingford Riegger, is Graham’s stirring response to the rise of fascism in 1936 and to the unmatched power of the collective will. Diversion of Angels is a joyous ensemble piece that explores the different aspects of women in love.

New works that will be featured on stage in Houston include Deo (2019) and Untitled (Souvenir) (2019), both by female choreographers.

Deo (2019) was choreographed by Maxine Doyle and Bobbi Jene Smith, who are both known for their use of drama and emotional content. Inspired by the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, Doyle and Smith use the story to investigate the natural human preoccupation with death and the underworld, and the role that women play in our understanding of mortality. Deo features an original score by experimental electronic musician Lesley Flanigan and costumes by Karen Young.

Critically acclaimed choreographer Pam Tanowitz’s Untitled (Souvenir) (2019) is a commissioned piece that is inspired by of Graham’s original works, such as Dark Meadow, Secular Games and The Legend of Judith. Incorporating elements of the vocabulary and phrasing from Graham’s work, Tanowitz takes the iconic movement, adds to it and shapes it into something new.

In celebration of the 19th Amendment and The EVE Project, SPA and Houston’s League of Women Voters (LWV) are working together to ensure that Houstonians are registered to vote in upcoming elections. League of Women Voters will have a table set up in Jones Hall for the Performing Arts the night of show to register audience members before the show and during intermission. To learn more about League of Women Voters, visit

In conjunction with the mainstage performance, SPA’s Education & Community Engagement department will host a public Martha Graham Dance Company master class at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center on Thursday, October 17, 2019 from 7:30 – 9 p.m. The master class is $20 and allows local intermediate to advanced dancers to learn from a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company. To register for the master class, please visit

As part of SPA’s new classroom education initiative called Collaborative Arts Project (CAP), dance students from Meyerland Middle School will have an opportunity to attend an exclusive dress rehearsal and meet Janet Eilber, the Artistic Director, to discuss the significance of The EVE Project and women’s suffrage.

About Martha Graham

Martha Graham (1894–1991) is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th century, alongside Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Igor Stravinsky, and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1998, TIME magazine named Martha Graham “Dancer of the Century,” and People magazine named her among the female “Icons of the Century.” As a choreographer, she was as prolific as she was complex. She created 181 ballets and a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude. Her approach to dance and theater revolutionized the art form and her innovative physical vocabulary has irrevocably influenced dance worldwide.

About Martha Graham Dance Company

The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926. Today, the Company is embracing a new programming vision that showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists. With programs that unite the work of choreographers across time within a rich historical and thematic narrative, the Company is actively working to create new platforms for contemporary dance and multiple points of access for audiences. Since its inception, the Martha Graham Dance Company has received international acclaim from audiences in more than 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The Company has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, Covent Garden, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as at the base of the Great Pyramids in Egypt and in the ancient Herod Atticus Theatre on the Acropolis in Athens. In addition, the Company has also produced several award-winning films broadcast on PBS and around the world.

For more information about the Company, visit

About Society for the Performing Arts

Founded in 1966, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) is the largest independent non-profit presenting organization in the Southwest. Since its inception, SPA has sponsored more than 1,000 performances of the world’s finest music, dance and theater events, in adherence to the belief that the arts are fundamental to the overall enrichment and quality of life within a community. In addition to presenting artists, SPA seeks to provide a variety of learning experiences for adults and children through master classes, lectures and special student performances, as well as build relationships between the performing arts and other interests within the greater Houston area and throughout the state of Texas.

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