Martha Graham Essay

Submitted By saharafisher
Words: 860
Pages: 4

Sahara Fisher
Ms. Carrizosa
Dance Team-0
November 25, 2013
The Legacy of Martha Graham
Martha Graham’s story chronicles the evolution of modern dance. She transferred dance into a new style that portrayed the inner emotions of the dance character and in turn affected the audience’s emotions. Born on May 11th, 1894, Graham was a well-known choreographer who was strongly influenced by her father George Graham, a doctor who specialized in nervous disorders. She took an interest in his belief that the body could express its inner senses. When the Graham family moved to California in the 1910’s Martha saw Ruth at the Mason Opera House in LA which inspired her to pursue study dance. However being faithful Presbyterians, they didn’t allow it. Despite this fact she proceeded to enroll in an arts-oriented junior college after her father’s passing, and then in the Denishawn School of Dancing. Founded by Ruth Saint Denis and her husband, Ted Shawn. Graham spent 8 years at Denishawn as a student and instructor, improving her technique and dancing professionally, as well as starring in the production “Xotchil”, a specially produced performance for Graham made by Ted Shawn. Her jarring, violent, and spastic movements were representational of emotional undercurrents that went unattempted in other dance forms of the West. Early critics described her dances as “ugly”, but her intent was recognized over time and became an important contribution to America’s cultural history. Choreographing until her death on April 1st, 1991, Martha Graham left behind a legacy of inspiration for dancers and artists of all kinds. Ms. Graham started her own dance company, which allowed her to express her own dance style. Her dances included modern flow and mechanical, stark movements that presents a single connection to an emotion or situation embraced in the audience. The same wavelength that is within the dance plays to the audience gives each member a therapeutic and personal experience of well being. Dance with Martha Graham includes the physical expression factor of energy leading to a feeling of wholeness. She loved to dance, eventually switching to the choreography spectrum of her timeline later in her career. She loved to dance and gave her final performance in 1968 at the ripe age of 74. She was deeply involved in the dance world, choreographing her last piece at age 90, for the production “Rite of Spring”. I am extremely interested in this dance style. I have had little experience outside of Unleashed with modern dance, in reference to a 6 week class in the contemporary style, but sprout from the same dance concepts that I have been searching for for years. As she says in an interview online, “There are always ancestral footsteps behind me, pushing me when I’m creating a new dance, and gestures are always flowing through me. You get to the point where your body is something else, and it takes on a world of cultures from the past. An idea that is very hard to express in words.” This is how I feel about dance as well. It’s hard to express in words what the body is capable of doing, but it is a whole different world to say the least. The heart and soul is able to express pent up