To honor the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 90th Anniversary Celebration Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance will perform Graham’s Diversion of Angels during the New York City season at the Koch Theater, Lincoln Center. Former Graham principal dancers Blakeley White-McGuire and Tadej Brdnik restaged the work on the Taylor Company; which has been maintained by Linda Hodes. Hodes, a former member of both the Graham and Taylor Companies, performed the work with Taylor and in 1993 became the Founding Director of Taylor 2.
Diversion of Angels has been described as joyous, lyrical and, in comparison to many of Graham’s other works, lighthearted. Considered a plot-less dance Diversion of Angels has an abstract narrative quality, that choreographer Graham described as three aspects of love. Some have characterized it as three facets of the same woman; while others claim the work was influenced by the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky. Staged for three couples and a corps de ballet the women are costumed in yellow (youth), red (mid-life) or white (mature); the men, and corps members, are dressed in beige.
The work premiered on August 13, 1948 at the Palmer Auditorium in New London, Connecticut and was initially entitled Wilderness Stair. The original cast included Helen McGehee and Stuart Hodes as Adolescent Love (yellow), Pearl Lang and Robert Cohan as Romantic Love (red) and Natanya Neumann and Mark Ryder as Mature Love (white) with Dorothea Douglas, Joan Skinner, Dorothy Berea, Erick Hawkins, May O’Donnell and Dale Sehnert. Renamed Diversion of Angels, and with Yuriko replacing May O’Donnell, the dance premiered in New York on January 22, 1950 at the 46th Street Theater. In 1955 Paul Taylor first performed in the work, which remained in the repertoire during his seven-year tenure with the company.
Conversation With Michelle Fleet- The Diversion Of Angels
Diversion of Angels will be performed on Wednesday March 23 and March 30 and the Sunday afternoon closing performance on April 3. Ticket prices range from $10 to $175 (visit www.boxoffice.dance). Premium $175 seats include an invitation to the Patrons Lounge during intermissions.
In Photo: Linda Hodes and Bertram Ross in Diversion of Angels -photographer unknown courtesy of The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance