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Primitive Mysteries (1931): Martha Graham and Dance Group

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Photograph of Martha Graham and Dance Group in 'Hymn to the Virgin' from Primitive Mysteries (1931).

“The evening before the first performance of Primitive Mysteries the dance was not working. I told the dancers to go home, that it would not appear on the next day's program. I felt that it was a failure and locked myself in my dressing room for three hours. It is then that composer Louis Horst, my musical director, defied me. 'Louis,' I said, 'you are breaking me. You are breaking my very soul.' He told the girls to stay. He told me, 'You must come out and be seen and do this. We will work it out.' The next evening Primitive Mysteries was the last piece on the concert program. Groups of women in dark, long dresses entered. I entered in my white organdy dress. This was the Hymn to the Virgin, then Hosannah and Crucifixus. We moved at first to an absence of music. Then it was Louis's music. We were enveloped.” – Martha Graham, “Blood Memory”

Premiere of Primitive Mysteries: February 2, 1931 – The Craig Theatre, New York City
Choreography by Martha Graham
Costumes by Martha Graham
Music by Louis Horst

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