main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu

Rituals & Reveries

Choreography by Martha Graham, guest artist Leyya Tawil and faculty Amy Chavasse, Peter Sparling, Sandra Torijano, and Robin Wilson

University Dance Company

Power Center for the Performing Arts

February 1 - 4, 2007


The Story:
The University Dance Company explores rites of passage in Rituals & Reveries. Highlighting the evening is a re-staging of Martha Graham’s seminal work for thirteen women, Primitive Mysteries, created in 1931. A masterwork of sustained dramatic tension and austere, formal structure, Primitive Mysteries is a Miracle Play in three parts evoking the rituals of Spanish and Native Americans in the American Southwest. In counterpoint to Graham’s work is Peter Sparling’s revival of Witness for thirteen men. Created in 1990 in response to the devastating loss of countless men to the AIDS plague in the last decades of the 20th century, Witness features music by Vincent Persichetti and Arvo Pärt. Guest faculty member Leyya Tawil, artistic director of the California based Dance Elixir, presents Raincoat Rebellion. Exploring regeneration — whether cultural, urban, or personal renewal —Raincoat Rebellion is set at the moment of exaltation when the old is shed and the new is embraced. Whether, by new faculty member Amy Chavasse, examines a replay of a disaster - wondering whether reconciliation could replace enmity between adversaries if chance and choice had played out differently. The work is set to music by Arthur Brooks and Dmitri Shostakovich. Robin Wilson creates Blank Spaces, a reflection on the effects of the loss of memory. Rounding out the evening is Amighetti, a work by Sandra Torijano which examines the cultural tradition of her native Costa Rica of community support for families in need.



Amighetti by Sandra Torijano


Scenic Designer Jeff Bauer
Costume Designers

Jeff Bauer

Rachel Arnsdorf

Lighting Designer Mary Cole
Stage Manager

Stephen Siercks


The reconstruction of "Primitive Mysteries" was made possible by American Masterpieces: Dance, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, which is administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with Dance/USA.

American Masterpieces logo national endowment for the arts logo

new england foundation for the arts logo Dance USA logo

Arts on Earth logo

Production Photos

Click here to view photos from the production.


Click here to view the program.

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower