Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Martha Graham Biography

Date of Birth
11 May 1894, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA 

Date of Death
1 April 1991, New York City, New York, USA 

Mini Biography
American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham was a revolutionary artist of modern dance in the early 20th century. Born in Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 1894, her family moved to California when she was 10. She was inspired at that early age to become a dancer when she saw Ruth St. Denis perform her exotic "Epytia" modern dance in 1914. After much study, Graham brought a different dynamics and interpretation to modern dance, one of sharp angles and natural motion. Graham's father was an "alienist," a term used at the turn of the century describe a physician who specialized in human psychology. Dr. Graham was interested in the way people used their bodies, and that interest was passed on to his eldest daughter. Martha frequently repeated her father's maxim of "Movement never lies." Her abstract approach to dance and her minimal use of costumes and set decorations was disconcerting to audiences accustomed to the lovely fluid movements of modern dance introduced earlier by the likes of Isadora Duncan (many critics accused Graham of making dance "ugly"). What Graham wanted to evoke with her style of dance was a heightened awareness of life. She eventually developed a strong following and won over the critics. Her dance themes were inspired by America's past, biblical stories, historical figures, classical mythology, primitive rituals, and surprisingly, psychoanalyst Carl Jung's writings, Emily Dickinson's poems, Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings, and Zen Buddhism. She danced with such a passion that her presence on stage was electrifying. Graham founded the Dance Repertory Theater in New York in 1930. She was the first dancer to receive a Guggenheim fellowship in 1932. From 1931 to 1935, Graham toured the United States in the production "Electra." She was fascinated by different cultures, and her interest in Native Americans of the southwest United States was first embodied in the production "Primitive Mysteries." In 1937, she danced for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House. Her most famous dance, "Appalachian Spring," was first performed in 1944. Graham gave her last stage performance in 1968, at age 74. In all, she produced 181 original ballets. A year before her death in 1990, she choreographed, at age 95, Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag"; the show featured costumes by Calvin Klein.
Eric Hawkins(4 September 1948 - ?)

Her experimental work on what the body could do based on its own structure developed into what was known as "percussive movements."
Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976.
Was brought to the Eastman School of Music in 1926 by Rouben Mamoulian, who was then the 28-year-old director of the Eastman School of Drama.
She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1985 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
Is portrayed by Richard Move in Ghostlight (2003)

Personal Quotes
Age is the acceptance of the term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.
The body says what words cannot.
You are unique and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.