American Document, a dance drama inspired by Martha Graham, will come to the City Opera House in Traverse City on Saturday, October 23 at 8:00 pm. Presented by ISLAND and directed by Gretchen Eichberger, this production is the first civic version of the work to be produced since it premiered in 1938.
This experimental dance work incorporates vaudevillian structures, folk rhythms, and spoken text to examine the conflict and the ever evolving questions “What is America? and What is an American?” Martha Graham is regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance and her influence on dance can be compared to the influence Picasso had on the visual arts and Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. A performer of astounding productivity and originality, Graham invented a new language for movement and used it to reveal the passion, the rage, and the ecstasy common to human experience.
The work debuted last month at the Mills Community House in Benzonia. Writer, educator, and musician, Norm Wheeler attended the Mills performance and commented that “It was brilliant, intense, and moving, reminding us that there is art that we just consume, and then original art that really moves us.” Eichberger, who also dances in the production, was inspired to direct the work after completing an intensive study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York. In addition to original choreography by the company, the work includes excerpts from Michigan-born and Pulitzer-prize winning author, Bruce Catton’s Waiting for the Morning Train, a memoir that describes growing up in northern Michigan.
The cast includes a multi-talented group of musicians, dancers, activists, craftsman and filmmakers from the region; Holly Wren Spaulding (Cedar), Tim Joseph (Brethren), Hughthir White (Empire), Stephen Kelly (Bear Lake), Brooke Beuby (Clearwater Township), Rick Jones (Interlochen) and James Weston and Jamaica Lynn Weston (Traverse City) and all perform in this timely work.
ISLAND is a non-profit arts and ecology center dedicated to connecting people with nature, art and community. Part of ISLAND’s mission is to support artists, visionaries, conceptual explorers and compelling communicators with dedicated time, space and resources to create new work. It is a great pleasure to work with director Gretchen Eichberger and the very talented cast and crew to bring this encore production of American Document to Northern Michigan. You can learn more about ISLAND at their website www.ARTmeetsEARTH.org.
Tickets for American Document may be reserved by calling the City Opera House at 231-941-8082 or by visiting their website: www.cityoperahouse.org