Canticle for Innocent Comedians

Participating Choreographers: Kristina & Sadé AlleyneSir Robert CohanJenn Freeman Juliano NunesSonya TayehMicaela TaylorYin Yue

Martha Graham created the dance Canticle for Innocent Comedians in 1952. The work was built around eight virtuosic vignettes for the stars of the Graham Company, each celebrating a different aspect of nature – the Sun, the Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, the Moon, the Stars and Death. Though the work was well received and is reputed to have been magical, there is little record of it, and it is considered lost.

The Martha Graham Dance Company is creating a new Canticle inspired by the themes and format of the original for a cast of ten dancers. The series of eight vignettes – solos, duets, and trios – will be created for today’s Graham stars by eight different choreographers coming from diverse dance backgrounds.

Emmy and Tony award winner Sonya Tayeh is the Lead Choreographer and will create the Prelude, Finale and transitions for the ensemble as well as the vignette titled Sun. Kristina & Sadé Alleyne, Juliano Nunes, Micaela Taylor, Yin Yue, and Jenn Freeman are notable new choreographic voices taking on Earth, Water, Fire, Stars and Death. Sir Robert Cohan, who danced in the original cast in 1952, created a new Wind vignette several months before he passed away in January of 2021, and Moon will have the original choreography by Martha Graham. Moon is one of the few sections of the Graham work that still exists.

A new score will be commissioned for the forty-five-minute work. Discussions with the renowned jazz pianist Jason Moran are underway.

Activities for community engagement will be created based on the new Canticle for students of all ages and aspiring dancers.


Michael Becker
Tee Scatuorchio

Kenneth Bloom
Abby Meiselman


The University of Minnesota


California State University, Northridge