In recent times the dance company has experienced financial difficulties. Last month, it announced a $2.5 million deficit, and it faces an uncertain future.
Despite the uncertainty, Graf is trying stay focused on her career, proceeding cautiously, a goal at a time. Is she worried about another injury? Yes, but she's philosophical about the possibility.
"In anything physical that you do there is always a risk of injury," she said. So she has learned to take it easy. "When I was younger I'd overexert myself. I'd get to rehearsal two hours early and stretch. Now I'm much more relaxed, I know what the worst-case scenario is."
When some part of her hurts, Graf slows down. "Our company is not huge, so we have to make sure all the dancers are healthy," she said.
While she's been touring with Dance Theatre of Harlem since January, her appearance at the Kennedy Center this week was the first time she'd danced there since her injury - and the first time her family had seen her perform a full ballet since then.
Her grandparents sat in the front row. At the end of the program, Gertrude Graf, her grandmother, was one of the first on her feet applauding. Alicia spotted her and gave her a nod, then accepted a large bouquet of pink roses and took her bows.
When she emerged to meet her family after the performance, her hair still pulled back in a tight dancer's bun, Graf gave hugs all around. The roses, though, went to her grandmother.
What: Dance Theatre of Harlem
When: Tonight and tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Opera House, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St., Washington
Tickets: $27 to $82
Information: 1-800-444-1324 or kennedy-center.org