“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” ~ Martha Graham

During her long career, which spanned more than 70 years, Martha Graham dedicated her life to the expression of the story of life through dance. Graham’s father was a doctor who specialized in nervous disorders and was quite interested in diagnosis through attention to physical movement. This foundational belief in the body’s ability to express its inner senses was crucial in Graham’s developing a desire to dance, although she did not find her calling until she was in her teens.

Her early performances were not generally well-received. She expressed her view of the world with strong, precise movement, charged with beauty and emotion that was vastly different from everything that preceded it. Before Graham, dance was an expression of glamor and grace, not raw emotion. Through her spastic movements, tremblings, and falls she expressed emotional and spiritual themes ignored by other dance… which would leave everything that came after it indelibly changed.

Graham, the mother of modern dance, found that through movement she could “speak” a new language, and used it to tell the story of the passion, the rage and the ecstasy common to human experience. Her story of life and how she chose to express it sent a rift through the dance world, leaving in its wake a level of intense inspiration that can be compared to what Stravinsky did to music, Picasso did to the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright did for architecture.

Find what moves you and share it with the world!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *