Pioneers of Dance: Martha Graham "Movement Never Lies"

Essay by mmmguevaraHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2004

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From her start in Three Gnossiennes, to her last dance, Maple leaf Rag, Martha Graham's technique was present throughout. Although she had to stop because of health relate issues, her soul was still boogieing. Her method of dancing was inspired by not only her frustrations to unleash to emotion inside but to create her own persona in this vast world of dance.

Martha Graham was born in 1894 in a small city outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was born to a physician who specialized in human psychology. The town "alienist" had instilled his motto of "Movement never lies" into his eldest daughter. While it seemed these words ran right through her, they stayed, engraved.

At the age of fourteen, her family relocated to California. Approximately three years later, she attended a Los Angeles dance recital by Ruth St. Denis. This presentation was the first dance she had ever seen.

As with all outstanding performances, she was overwhelmed by the type of dance. She knew then that this was her future.

In 1916, she enrolled into Denishawn. At twenty two, this petite, timid, but insightful and diligent girl impressed Ted Shawn, one of the leaders in the studio. She was chosen to dance in his rendition of Xochilt. Then, abruptly, she left Denishawn to dance solo at The Greenwich Follies.

In 1925, Graham became the dance instructor at the Eastman School of Music and Theater in Rochester, N.Y. "I wanted to begin," she said, "not with characters or ideas but with movement.... I wanted significant movement." It was here that she began experimenting with modern dance forms. "I did not want it to be beautiful or fluid. I wanted it to be fraught with inner meaning, with excitement and surge." She abandoned the straight steps and techniques of...