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Transcript of Martha Graham
Style of Choreography
"Mother of Modern Dance"
Who influenced her work?
born in Pennsylvania on May 11, 1894
studied dance in Los Angeles through her teens at Denishawn
worked at Eastman School of Music until she established a dance company in new york
married her most famous and accomplished dancer (Eric Hawkins) but separated after a short time
died in 1991
Martha Graham's father was a doctor who specialized in nervous disorders and used physical movement to remedy them. He believed that the body could express its inner senses, and he passed that belief on to his daughter.
Martha Graham developed an angular style that contrasted the major types of dance in her era (classical ballet and early modern dance). Graham focused on breathing, using it as inspiration for her movements. She used the contractions of muscles to develop her style and is known for her demanding floor work and dramatic falls and pelvic contractions.
"I wanted to begin not with characters or ideas, but with movements... I wanted significant movement. I did not want it to be beautiful or fluid. I wanted it to be fraught with inner meaning."
Seeing Ruth St. Denis dance was the inciting event that influenced Martha Graham by causing her to decide to study dance.
Contraction: C-curve of spine
Release: opens chest to sky (response to contraction)
Spiral: twists torso starting at pelvis and moving up the body
Martha Graham influenced dance so greatly that her nickname is the "mother of modern dance". At that time, classical ballet was popular and modern dance was meant to be fluid and beautiful, Martha changed the dance world by showing people that dance doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to have meaning.