World Premiere The New Canticle for Innocent Comedians
Come witness the debut of a newly unearthed Canticle for Innocent Comedians, performed by the “most skilled and powerful dancers you can ever hope to see” (Washington Post). The Martha Graham Company’s original 1952 Canticle was beloved but is now considered lost. Their new Canticle is based on the same themes and format as the original, with a new score by jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran performed live by Wild Up, Christopher Rountree’s exuberant modern ensemble of classical musicians. This is the second appearance for the world-famous dance company onstage at The Soraya this season, and fifth overall.
STORY: Martha Graham’s ode to nature ‘Canticle,’ re-imagined for 21st Century
When Martha Graham premiered a new, full-company work with a poetic title, “Canticle for Innocent Comedians,” it was the Spring of 1952. John Martin, dance critic for the New York Times and Graham’s great champion, urged readers to attend. “Of course [“Canticle” is] the principal event of the week,” he wrote. Graham did not disappoint. She unveiled a work of unusual lyricism, as a quasi-mystical homage to the elements of nature—sun, moon, wind, Earth, water and fire—all cycling through death and rebirth. The work was a revelation. Martin called it “beautifully made” and “a tender kind of ritual.” Dance critic Anna Kisselgoff, reacting to a 1987 re-staging, called it Graham’s “great hymn to nature” and a work of “luminous strangeness.” The young Paul Taylor, seeing “Canticle,” said it was the reason he became a choreographer.