Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fifteen Minutes : Martha Graham

When I opened Google today I found this wonderful animation by Ryan Woodward in honour of Martha Graham.

(photo credit: here )

The animated illustration was so beautiful that it made me curious to find out more... And what I found out was truly inspiring.

So who was Martha Graham exactly?

( from here )

She was the pioneer of Contemporary dance but more importantly she was a woman who lived her passions and fearlessly followed her dreams, defying critics to dance on stage till she was 76 years old.

These are a few interesting facts that I read about her that I thought might inspire some of you...

  • She was the first dancer ever to perform at the White House.

  • She was the first dancer ever to travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, and the first dancer ever to receive the highest civilian award of the USA: the Presidential Medal of Freedom

  • . In her lifetime she received honors ranging from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan's Imperial Order of the Precious Crown

  • She said, "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."

  • Graham's dance style is based upon contraction and release of the body. She despised the term "modern dance" and preferred "contemporary dance". She thought the concept of what was "modern" was constantly changing and was thus inexact as a definition.

  • For a majority of her life Graham resisted the recording of her dances and would not allow them to be filmed or photographed. She believed the performances should exist only live on the stage and in no other form. At one point she even burned volumes of her diaries and notes to prevent them from being seen.

  • In her autobiography, Blood Memory she wrote: "It wasn't until years after I had relinquished a ballet that I could bear to watch someone else dance it. I believe in never looking back, never indulging in nostalgia, or reminiscing. Yet how can you avoid it when you look on stage and see a dancer made up to look as you did thirty years ago, dancing a ballet you created with someone you were then deeply in love with, your husband? I think that is a circle of hell Dante omitted."

  • "When I stopped dancing] I had lost my will to live. I stayed home alone, ate very little, and drank too much and brooded. My face was ruined, and people say I looked odd, which I agreed with. Finally my system just gave in. I was in the hospital for a long time, much of it in a coma."

  • Graham not only survived her hospital stay but she rallied. In 1972 she quit drinking, returned to her studio, reorganized her company and went on to choreograph ten new ballets and many revivals

  • In 1998, Time listed her as the "Dancer of the Century" and as one of the most important people of the 20th century.

  • The most requested dance materials at the New York Public Library have to do with the work of Martha Graham

What an inspiring lady! And who knew i would come across this by a just opening Google and wondering about the illustration!

[ source of information : here ]

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! She looks so beautiful in all the pictures!