Article El Penitente (Ballet choreographed by Martha Graham)

[El Penitente, No. 2] [photograph]
[El Penitente, No. 2] [photograph]. Reproduced with permission of Katherine Duke.

Performed to music by Louis Horst, El Penitente premiered on August 11, 1940, at the Bennington College Theater, Bennington, Vermont, with costumes designed by Edythe Gilfond and a set created by Arch Lauterer. (Isamu Noguchi later designed new sets and an additional mask.) The original cast included Graham, Erick Hawkins, Merce Cuningham, and other members of Martha Graham and Group. Irving Kolodin, writing for the New York Sun (January 21, 1941) said, "The work is as parched, dry and sunbaked as the locale of its origin and, despite the fine performances of Erick Hawkins, Merce Cunningham and Miss Graham, decidedly limited in its interest." The New York Times critic John Martin (April 8, 1941) noted, "It has a simple charm of form, telling its ancient tale with a ritualistic remoteness that is yet touched with humanity and a quiet beauty."

About this Item

El Penitente (Ballet choreographed by Martha Graham)
Subject Headings
-  El Penitente
-  Articles
-  Songs and Music
Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress, Music Division.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

ElPenitente Ballet choreographed by Martha Graham. Web..

APA citation style:

ElPenitente Ballet choreographed by Martha Graham. [Web.] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

ElPenitente Ballet choreographed by Martha Graham. Web.. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

More Articles like this