Choreography and Costumes by
Staged by Takako Asakawa
Assistant to Miss Asakawa: Kenneth Topping
Music by Norman Dello Joio
Lighting by Brad Fields, after Jean Rosenthal
Running time: 17:00
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 spirits
labor; games, flights, fancies, configurations of the lovers
intention; the believed Possibility, at once strenuous and tender;
humors of innocence, garlands, evangels, Joy on the wilderness
stair; diversion of angels.
-- Ben Belitt
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.
Diversion of Angels, under the title Wilderness Stair,
received its World Premiere by the Martha Graham Dance Company on August
13, 1948 at the Palmer Auditorium, New London, Connecticut, danced by
May ODonnell, Pearl Lang, Helen McGehee, Dorothea Douglas, Joan
Skinner, Dorothy Berea, Natanya Neumann, Erick Hawkins, Mark Ryder,
Robert Cohan, Stewart Hodes, and Dale Sehnert.
Under the title Diversion of Angels, it was given at the Eighth
Street Theatre, Chicago, Illinois on March 20, 1949, and had its New
York Premiere at the 46th Street Theater on January 22, 1950 with Yuriko
replacing May ODonnell.
Diversion of Angels was given its American Ballet Theatre Company
Premiere at City Center, New York on October 23, 1999, danced by Gillian
Murphy, Maxim Belotserkovsky, Ashley Tuttle, Keith Roberts, Yan Chen,
and Joaquin De Luz.