UMS Welcomes the Martha Graham Dance Company

February 17 and 18, the University Musical Society will be hosting the Martha Graham Dance Company in a performance celebrating the legacy of Martha Graham. The Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest Dance company in the United States. Its 100th anniversary will be celebrated in 2026. 

A performer dancing on stage.

Martha Graham was a legendary dancer and cheorographer. She created 181 ballets and worked alongside legendary actors, designers, directors and composers. Graham has received the Presidential medal of freedom from President Ford as well as the National Medal of Arts from President Reagan. 

The Graham Technique is rooted in the basic human movement of contraction and release. Her works are full of emotion and storytelling. She is well known for having developed a vocabulary for movement that changed the dance world. She focused heavily on breathing and the dancer’s use of space. 

Leslie Andrea Williams is a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company as well as a graduate from Julliard. She describes what stands out to her about the Graham Technique, “the drama, the romanticism, the theatricality that’s put side by side with the physicality.” She highlights the flawless combination between dance and storytelling, “ The use of world building, beautiful sets, beautiful costumes that really take you there.”  

Williams illustrates what audiences can look forward to at the UMS performance, “fast paced movements, lots of dancing, great costumes, there’s a lot to see.”

This performance will feature Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, a new work from Jamar Roberts entitled “We the People” as well as “Maple Leaf Rag,” a ballet from Martha Graham. “It is just all encompassing of Graham but then very happy and brings a lot of joy when I dance it and when audiences see it, it brings them joy,” Williams said of Maple Leaf Rag. 

The Martha Graham Dance Company Performance will be full of stunning costumes and beautiful dances that will create an immersive experience for viewers. It is a celebration of the rich legacy of Martha Graham.

Tickets are on sale now on the UMS website starting at $40. 

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