Performed to music by Carlos Chávez, Dark Meadow premiered on January 23, 1946, at New York's Plymouth Theater. The work, commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of the Library of Congress, originally was to premiere along with Appalachian Spring in 1944; however, Chávez was unable to deliver the score in time for the performance. Costumes were designed by Edythe Gilfond; Isamu Noguchi was listed as "Artistic Collaborator." The cast list included Martha Graham, May O'Donnell, Erick Hawkins, and other members of the Martha Graham Dance Company. Critic John Martin, writing for the New York Times (January 27, 1946), noted, "Dark Meadow is a curious work, indeed, which at first pretty thoroughly defies comprehension. An hour or so later, however, it suddenly begins to assume form in the memory, to take on cohesiveness and direction, and to send me hurrying back for a second view by way of confirmation."