Martha Graham Dance Company
Diversion of Angels and CAVE (Preview)

Diversion of Angels

Diversion of Angels
Diversion of Angels
After it's premiere, August 13, 1948, as Wilderness Stair, the dance was reconceived sans a plot, although it is infused with symbolism by Graham, who described it as representing three aspects of love: The Couple in Red embodies romantic love and “the ecstasy of the contraction”; the Couple in White, mature love; and the Couple in Yellow, a flirtatious and adolescent love. Romantic love was renamed erotic love during the 1980s. Some interpret these aspects as three facets of one woman's character. The staging also includes a corps de ballet.

The dance takes its name and feelings from a poetic narrative by Ben Belitt included in the program notes when the new version premiered on March 20, 1949:

It is the place of the Rock and Ladder, the raven, the blessing, the tempter, the rose. It is the wish of the single-hearted, the undivided; play after the spirit’s labor; games, flights, fancies, configurations of the lover’s intention; the believed Possibility, at once strenuous and tender; humors of innocence, garlands, evangels, Joy on the wilderness stair; diversion of angels.”

Another influence on Graham in conceiving this dance is the bold coloration and abstract compositiom of Wassily Kandinsky, which are embodied in the costumes of the three couples and the choreography, including a cross-stage dash by the Girl in Red.

Diversion of Angels is filled with joyful, exuberant and lyrical expressions is set to a romantic score by Norman Dello Joio. It is a part of the Martha Graham Dance Company repertoire and that of American Ballet Theatre (since 1999).


Get ready to see and feel a rave-style event from the techno club scene taken to a new level, based on an idea brought to the company by international dance star Daniil Simkin and choreographed by Hofesh Shechter, an Israeli choreographer based in London.

The April 6, 2022 premiere was performed by ten Graham dancers and Simkin, with Shechter receiving accolades for his creative orchestration of the group, intensively swirling and pulsating over and around the stage to a relentless beat credited to Âme (a German house/techno duo consisting of Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann) and Shechter.

In a series of flash mobs, the contrast between male and female movement is rife with social commentary, as well as early Graham pelvis rooting.

Newman Center Presents the Martha Graham Dance Company, September 22 & 23, 2023 at 7:30pm. For tickets:, or by phone at 303.871.7720.

Bob Bows

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