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Having resolved a spate of copyright lawsuits over its late founder’s original works, the Martha Graham Dance Company is now free to perform the Modernist ballets that established its reputation as the country’s leading contemporary dance troupe. Graham, the American dance icon who trained such stars as Madonna and Betty Ford, choreographed Clytemnestra in 1958. A meditation on insanity, revenge, and matricide based on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, this downer of a tale opens with the Queen of Mycenae in Hades, having killed her unfaithful husband Agamemnon and, in turn, being murdered by her own son. A delirious Clytemnestra is plagued by jarring flashbacks—with full orchestral accompaniment of Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh’s score—while she retraces the steps that landed her in the Greek hell loony bin. Fang Yi Sheu takes on the title role that Graham herself performed well into her 60s.
THE MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY PERFORMS TUESDAY, DEC. 9, AND WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, AT 8 P.M. AT THE KENNEDY CENTER’S EISENHOWER THEATER, 2700 F ST. NW. $22-$65. (202) 467-4600.