Performed to music by Hector Villa-Lobos, Dolorosa premiered on February 2, 1931, at New York's Craig Theatre. The solo work was danced by Martha Graham. Dolorosa also appears in programs as "from Primitive Cycle." In writing about Graham's choreographies, Stark Young of the New Republic (December 14, 1932) commented that Graham "must begin…not with either a pictorial representational idea (some scene or personage) or with a dramatic idea: her first idea will be more like that of a designer of patterns, lines, angles, rugs, tiles, fabrics, what you will, or like the basic outlay of what will later be a painting. From this pattern or single form there will develop; other forms; which in their turn may suggest an idea less visually abstract and more a subject, more a literary or psychological meaning, and go on from there, perhaps, even to a title for the composition "Incantation," say, or "Dolorosa…."