Detail from Martha Graham dancers performing Satie's Gnossienne. Photograph by Soichi Sunami. Reproduced with permission of the Sunami Family.
Performed to music by Erik Satie, Trois Gnossiennes premiered on April 18, 1926, at New York's 48th Street Theater as part of Graham's first independent concert. The cast included Martha Graham with Evelyn Sabin, Thelma Biracree, and Betty Macdonald. Beginning in 1927, Graham began to perform each of the three sections of this choreography as independent dances: Gnoissienne, Frieze, and Tanagra. Eventually, Tanagra became the most frequently performed of the three. Robert Bell, writing for the Washington Post on March 6, 1927, described Graham's performance, "In Tanagra she dances in a tight skirt that flares at her ankles into a long ruffling train. She does not touch her hands to the train, only her feet control it, yet it dances too. It seems to repeat and give emphasis to the motive of the dance."