Graham Deconstructed: Primitive Mysteries


Graham Deconstructed

Primitive Mysteries

Join us in celebrating the 86th Anniversary of
Martha Graham’s masterpiece Primitive Mysteries


February 2, 2017 – 7pm


  • Reading of The Third From the Left, a play by Jean Colonomos, Graham alumna and former Primitive Mysteries dancer
  • Rehearsal run-through of Primitive Mysteries featuring the Martha Graham Dance Company
  • Launch of a new exhibit for Google Arts and Culture featuring an essay by Neil Baldwin
  • Cake in honor of the 86th birthday of Primitive Mysteries

Martha Graham Studio Theater
55 Bethune Street, 11th floor

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door

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The Third From the Left – The story about the 1964 revival of Martha Graham’s masterpiece, Primitive Mysteries, is reborn. As a former Graham dancer, Ms. Colonomos recounts five women’s struggle to master this back-breaking choreography. The play is about modern dance, dancers and the genius of Martha Graham.

Jean Colonomos began her career in the Arts as a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company. She then wrote about dance for various publications in New York City during the ’60s and ‘70s. During this time Ms. Colonomos became a produced playwright and a poet. In 2006 her play, The Third from the Left, was first performed in Edinburgh and in 2008, it debuted in America at New York’s International Fringe Festival. The play received excellent reviews, notably in the New York Times. For her play, Black Dawn, about female Cambodian survivors of the Pol Pot regime suffering from psychogenic blindness, she and her director, Jon Lawrence Rivera, received Citations from the City of Los Angeles. Ms. Colonomos’ poetry has been published in over fifty online and print publications. For more, visit

Neil Baldwin, author of the forthcoming Martha Graham: When Dance Became Modern (under contract with Alfred A. Knopf) sat in on MGC rehearsals under the guidance of Denise Vale for the revival of Primitive Mysteries and has written a new essay with his observations exploring the complex genesis of this modernist masterpiece.

About the Graham Studio Series

Graham Studio Series - new

The Martha Graham Dance Company welcomes guests, patrons and fans into its West Village studios for intimate performances along with a glass of wine. The 2016-2017 Season the Company will host eleven performances, under the themes: GrahamDeconstructed, NEW@Graham, and Shoot the Dancers. For the first time ever, we have made the full Studio Series available as a season package.


A unique opportunity to view great Graham works up close and hear about the artistic and historical context of their creation from Artistic Director Janet Eilber. The program offers a glimpse of the artistic labor that goes on every day at the Martha Graham studios to preserve and augment Martha Graham’s great legacy.


Introducing the audience to the Company’s newest commissions, by offering a sneak-peek of the work before its premiere. After each performance, Artistic Director Janet Eilber hosts a conversation with the commissioned choreographer and the audience.

Shoot the Dancers

Audiences are invited to learn the secrets behind the images of leading dance photographers. Following a conversation with the artists, the Company takes the stage. The audience is invited to take out their own cameras and catch the Graham dancers in motion.

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Photo of Martha Graham in Primitive Mysteries, 1931. Photo by Barbara Morgan.