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Diversion of Angels

Diversion of Angels


Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham
Staged by Takako Asakawa
Assistant to Miss Asakawa Kenneth Topping
Music by Norman Dello Joio
Lighting by Brad Fields
after Jean Rosenthal

World Premiere

(under the title Wilderness Stair)
Martha Graham Dance Company
August 13, 1948
Palmer Auditorium
New London, Connecticut

Cast:
May O’Donnell, Pearl Lang, Helen McGehee, Dorothea Douglas, Joan Skinner, Dorothy Berea, Natanya Neumann, Erick Hawkins, Mark Ryder, Robert Cohan, Stewart Hodes, Dale Sehnert

World Premiere

(as Diversion of Angels)
Martha Graham Dance Company
March 20, 1949
Eighth Street Theatre
Chicago, Illinois

Cast:
May O’Donnell, Pearl Lang, Helen McGehee, Dorothea Douglas, Joan Skinner, Dorothy Berea, Natanya Neumann, Erick Hawkins, Mark Ryder, Robert Cohan, Stewart Hodes, Dale Sehnert

New York Premiere

Martha Graham Dance Company
January 22, 1950
46th Street Theater
New York, New York

Cast:
Yuriko, Pearl Lang, Helen McGehee, Dorothea Douglas, Joan Skinner, Dorothy Berea, Natanya Neumann, Erick Hawkins, Mark Ryder, Robert Cohan, Stewart Hodes, Dale Sehnert

ABT Premiere

October 23, 1999
City Center
New York, New York

Cast:
Gillian Murphy, Maxim Belotserkovsky, Ashley Tuttle, Keith Roberts, Yan Chen, Joaquin De Luz.

Synopsis

Diversion of Angels is a lyric dance about the loveliness of youth, the pleasure and playfulness, quick joy and quick sadness of being in love for the first time.

The dance follows no story.  Its action takes place in the imaginary garden love creates for itself. 

The ballet was originally called Wilderness Stair.  Martha Graham once described Diversion of Angels as three aspects of love; the white couple represents mature love in perfect balance; red, erotic love; and yellow, adolescent love.

Notes

The following quote from Ben Belitt was used by Martha Graham as a poetic program note for Diversion of Angels.  It is a poetic narrative that has the same feeling as the piece.

“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.”

– Ben Belitt