Martha Graham
The Revolutionary Dancer

Martha Graham is widely known as one of the leading figures in dance. She revitalized dance around the world and greatly influenced the art form to become what it has today.

Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer. She was very passionate about dance she continued to teach and choreograph until she died in 1991.

For Graham, life away from dance was impossible.

Through her seventy years of choreographing and dancing, she dedicated her life to dance.

She was not only a performer, but a teacher and a founder of the oldest dance company in America.


Martha Graham

(May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991)

Graham was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and studied dance throughout her teens in Los Angeles.

Her father was a doctor and came up with ideas that fascinated Martha as a young child. He specialized in nervous disorders and believed that the body could express its inner senses.

When Martha later went onto develop her own technique, it deviated from classical ballet and used specific body movements to influence on the development of modern dance.

She identified the method as "contraction and release", which was about the breathing and impulse control based on the principles of tension and relaxation.

The contraction is the foundation for the Graham technique and has become the prominent move in contemporary dance.

Martha created her own dance company in 1926 and it acted as a great influence to form many of the famous dancers we know today, including Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor.

One of the most honest and truthful dance quotes, which I like to remember, is by this legendary dance icon -

"I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It's permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable."

Martha danced throughout her lifetime and this quote shows the reality yet burning passion one must have in order to pursue their dreams as a dancer.


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