Today, we explore the life of dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. She created almost two hundred dance pieces.
The function of dance is communication. By communication is not meant to tell a story or to project an idea, but to communicate experience by means of action.
Body is the basic instrument, intuitive, instinctive. As a result an entirely contemporary set of technics was evolved. These are images from the Martha Graham technique.
They are two of her signature movements: For many people, modern dance is synonymous with the work of Martha Graham. Known for her theatricality, severity, solemnity, and emotionally charged dances, Graham was a true original.
The mythic content of her work was introspective in its involvement with human emotions and the personal exploration of deep-seated motivations. Graham herself described her dances as stylized to represent the times in which she was creating: It often stops in mid-air.
That is what I aim for in my dances" Mazo,p. Much of that syllabus comes to us today directly from Graham, and in many places is still taught in precisely the same manner.
Graham believed that the first task when working with students "is to teach them to admire strength - the virile gestures that are evocative of the only true beauty. To try to show that ugliness may actually be beautiful if it cries out with the voice of power" Mazo,p.
It was this admiration of powerful gesture that often gave the work an angular and stylized appearance. But it is not true that lyricism or nuanced movement is not valued in the technique.
Graham developed her technique over time and softened some of the exercises to ensure that the movements were not overly rigid. Purpose of Dance Graham took a psychoanalytical viewpoint on dance. Her dances were dramatic expressions of the conflict between the individual and society in an attempt to look at the internal motivations of humanity.
Graham believed that using dance for that purpose would bring psychoemotional enlightenment. Since the purpose of dance is to translate emotional experience in physical form, in the Graham technique, every movement must have a clear and perceivable meaning. This does not mean the movements must be realistic, only that the stylization must be meaningful and recognizable to the viewer as well as to the performer.
Graham was clear on this principle: Your training only gives you freedom" Mazo,p. Thus the rigor of your training was all part of the purpose of the art form - and Graham believed in rigorous training!
Her demand for total discipline and attention during class, and her anger when this was not accorded her, are well documented. While the movements in the technique itself are not natural gestures, they are artificial ones; the inner commitment to them and the emotional sincerity of the dancers presenting them are entirely real.
Relation to Space and Gravity The Graham technique has a clear relationship to the floor and to gravity. However, unlike the previously discussed technique where the power to pull away from gravity gives you energy and a search for equilibrium, the Graham technique believes that the fall is the acknowledgment of the power of gravity.
Many of the exercises in the Graham syllabus require the dancer to fall powerfully into the floor, and these movements are seen repeatedly throughout the Graham repertory.
To Graham, this was not just a physical act; it was a psychological one. You fall into the left hand - into the unknown" Mazo,p. The exploration of the space of the stage, including the floor itself, is part of the emotional content of the technique.
Because space can reveal emotional content, according to Graham, the set is an integral part of the ability of a dance to communicate.Watch video · The rest of her life was spent as an advocate for the arts.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are five important aspects about Martha Graham’s life, work and influence. Martha Graham was born in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 11, , one of George and Jane Beers Graham's three daughters. Her father was a Died: Apr 01, Oct 27, · Martha Graham`s influence on 20th Century dance has been compared to Pablo Picasso`s influence on art and Igor Stravinsky`s on music.
Agnes de Mille, the choreographer of ``Oklahoma,`` writes. DANCE STUDY. PLAY. 1. What were two contributions of Ted Shawn alone?
What is so important about Martha Graham? What was her choreography like?
Also left Denishawn to create her own company important contribution to the modern dance world? Studied with Lester Horton, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman.
Martha Graham was a prominent American dancer who was the first dancer ever to perform at the White House. This biography of Martha Graham provides detailed information about her childhood, life, achievements, works & srmvision.com Of Birth: Allegheny County. Graham spent her life challenging what dance is and what a dancer can do.
She looked upon dance as an exploration, a celebration of life, and a religious calling that required absolute devotion. Graham became a dancer against the odds.