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Biography On Mrath Graham Essay

821 words - 4 pages

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” With this quote Martha Graham opines that the body says what words cannot. Martha Graham was a significant American dancer, teacher, and choreographer of modern dance in American history. Graham was a person who never thought about being “different” from anyone else, but she certainly was. Graham employed the psychological concepts of Freud and Jung into her dances. Graham also sought to give “visible substance to things felt”, which was a phrase that became a metaphor central to her art form. Among many things Graham was also a huge advocate of expressionism, a form of art in which an artist seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the external world into their work, and her revolutionary vision and artistic mastery has had a deep and lasting impact on American art and culture.
Martha Graham was born on May 11, 1894 in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania and tragically passed on April 1, 1994 in her home of cardiac arrest after being treated for pneumonia for two months. Graham was one of three daughters to a physician, her father Dr. George Graham, who was particularly interested in the bodily expression of human behavior. Her father’s profession is what influenced psychological emphasis of reflection and shedding light on an event (Freud) and dream timing, or important events that get more time than actual events (Jung), in her dances. In 1909, Graham’s family settled in Santa Barbara, California, where she became acquainted with oriental art, influences that were to be evident in her choreography throughout her career. In 1911, at age 17, Graham attended a Los Angeles concert for Ruth St. Denis, whose exotic dancing inspired Graham to imagine a career of dance for herself.
Shortly after her father’s death Graham enrolled at Denishawn, the California school founded by St. Denis and her husband Ted Denishawn. Here Graham explored the world’s dances – folk, classical, experimental, Oriental and American Indian. Graham remained at Denishawn until 1923, and then became a featured dancer in the Greenwich Village Follies where she gained reputation for her ballet ballads. In 1925 Graham left the Follies to begin her independent career. Graham took teaching positions at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and the John Murray Anderson School in New York City in order to support herself during this period. In those times, Graham began to develop a dance-training mode based on a system of contractions and...

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