Martha Graham Dance Company


7:30 pm

Reserved Seating

Martha Graham Dance Company


The legendary Martha Graham Dance Company returns to Vail with a one-night-only program featuring Graham’s classic Errand into the Maze based on the myth of Theseus, CAVE, a visceral new work created for the company by Hofesh Shechter that blends pulsating musical energy with thrilling contemporary choreography, and Canticle for Innocent Comedians, a work inspired by the 1938 poem by Ben Belitt celebrating the different elements of nature.


Errand into the Maze
Errand Into the Maze premiered in 1947 at the Ziegfield Theater in New York City. With a score by Gian Carlo Menotti, and set design by Isamu Noguchi, the dance was choreographed as a duet for Martha Graham and Mark Ryder. It is loosely derived from the myth of Theseus, who journeys into the labyrinth to confront the Minotaur, a creature who is half man and half beast. In Errand Into the Maze, Martha Graham retells the tale from the perspective of Ariadne, who descends into the labyrinth to conquer the Minotaur. Substituting a heroine for the hero of Greek mythology in her dance, Martha Graham created a female protagonist who would confront the beast of fear, not just once, but three times, before finally overpowering him. Noguchi designed a set that consisted of a v-shaped frame, like the crotch of a tree or the pelvic bones of a woman. A long rope curves its way through the performance space and ends at this symbolic doorway. Influenced by the theories of the great psychologist Carl Jung, Martha Graham was exploring the mythological journey into the self in this dance.

This high-energy work by Hofesh Shechter emerged out of an idea brought to the Graham Company by the international dance star Daniil Simkin. Daniil was interested in taking the dance that is part of the techno club scene to a new level and finding a way to integrate choreographed movement into a Rave style event. As a prelude to this larger idea, Hofesh Shechter was invited to create a dance for the proscenium stage for the Graham dancers. The result is a visceral collective movement experience, with a powerful, swirling shared kinetic energy.

Canticle for Innocent Comedians
Martha Graham created Canticle for Innocent Comedians in 1952, taking the title and inspiration from the 1938 poem by Ben Belitt, her old friend and colleague at the Bennington School of the Dance. The multifaceted work was built around eight virtuosic vignettes for the stars of the Graham Company, each celebrating a different element of nature: Sun, Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Moon, Stars and Death. The work was well received, reputed to have been magical; however, there is only a fragmented record remaining, and it is considered lost.

This 2022 Canticle for Innocent Comedians is a reimagining of the original. The choreography is completely new but draws upon Graham’s stylistic blueprint. The vignettes have been re-made for today’s Graham stars by eight dance-makers from diverse backgrounds. Fortunately, Graham’s staging of “Moon” was filmed in the 1950s and is included in the new production.

A lyrical, percussive, ruminative score has been created by the great jazz pianist, Jason Moran.

The lead choreographer, Emmy and Tony award winner Sonya Tayeh, has designed the connective tissue for this eclectic assemblage – in the words of the original poem, “that binds the halves of first and last/To single troth, in time” — for the dancers of the Ensemble, weaving in and out of the sections in a manner reminiscent of a Greek chorus, and resonating with many Graham classics.

The costumes by Karen Young are inspired by voluminous, swirling shapes that Graham often used for the costumes she herself designed. They are fabricated from recycled plastic bottles to add to the conversation about the eternal values of nature — and our responsibilities to the planet.

Generously Underwritten by Priscilla Brewster.

Casting and repertory are subject to change.

Photo credit: Martha Graham Dance Company in “Cave” by Hofesh Shechter. Photo by Chris Jones.


Reserved Pavilion Seats | $50-115
General Admission Lawn | $30


  • We are offering a number of ticket packages and offerings this year. Click HERE to view.
  • Children 12 and under receive free admission on the lawn with the purchase of an adult ticket.
  • Students and faculty may purchase discounted lawn tickets for $10 each (excludes Dance for $20.23 and performances at the Vilar Performing Arts Center).
  • Ticket prices are subject to change. Price listed does not include service fees.
  • Questions? Contact the Box Office at or call 970.845.TIXS(8497)


Gates open one hour prior to showtime. 


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