San Diego Story
Janis Steinberg
January 26, 2020

Fresh. Vital. These are not words I expected to use for the Martha Graham Dance Company’s performance at the Civic Theatre on Wednesday. Graham, the imperious mother of American modern dance, was long ago superseded by her rebellious children, former company members Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor; and later dance makers have moved even further from her often-overwrought style.

What a happy surprise, then, to see the exciting show the Graham company did here, performed by dancers who seemed enraptured by this work. The program, presented by the La Jolla Music Society, included three Graham dances from the 1930s and 40s. There was also a 2019 piece commission the very hot choreographer Pam Tanowitz, a brilliant choice by artistic director Janet Eilber. Although the Tanowitz dance showed a distinctly 21stcentury sensibility, it didn’t shove Graham into the dance-history dust heap. Rather, each woman’s work illuminated the other’s.

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