Great Americans #6 Martha Graham

Martha Graham was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1894, into a strict Presbyterian family.

Wikipedia describes her artistic goal as: “to make dance an art form that was more grounded in the rawness of the human experience as opposed to just a mere form of entertainment.” 

Here is what she had to say about herself, humankind and art:

“No artist is ahead of his time. He is the time. It is just that others are behind the time.”

“People have asked me why I chose to be a dancer. I did not choose. I was chosen to be a dancer, and with that, you live all your life.”

“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.”

“I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.”

“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.”

“Dancers are the messengers of the gods.”

“Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.”

“The body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor.”

“The only sin is mediocrity.”

The influence of Graham on dance has been compared to the influence of Picasso on painting, Stravinski on music and Frank Lloyd Wright on architecture.

Geoff Fox, 11th May, 2023, Down Under