Presentation on theme: "Martha Graham May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991. Martha Graham Martha Graham is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th Century alongside Picasso,"— Presentation transcript:
Martha Graham May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991
Martha Graham Martha Graham is recognized as a primal artistic force of the 20th Century alongside Picasso, Stravinsky, James Joyce, and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1998 TIME Magazine named Martha Graham as the "Dancer of the Century," and People Magazine named her among the female "Icons of the Century." As a choreographer, she was as prolific as she was complex. She created 181 ballets and a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude. Many of the great modern and ballet choreographers have studied the Martha Graham Technique or have been members of her company.
Graham- The Beginning Martha Graham was born in Alleghany, Pennsylvania in Her father George Graham was what in the Victorian era was known as an "alienist," an early form of Psychiatry.
Martha Graham – The Beginning The Grahams were strict Presbyterians. Dr. Graham was a third generation American of Irish descent and her mother Jane Beers was a tenth generation descendant of Puritan Miles Standish. They were a proper family in the upper echelon of Pittsburgh society. While the social status in which she was raised contributed to her access to education and refinement, it would also work against Martha as the eldest daughter of a prominent physician would be strongly discouraged from considering any career in the performing arts.
Martha Graham- The Beginning Graham moved with her family to California when she was 14. Three years later, she attended a Los Angeles recital by the dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis. It was the first dance performance of any kind that Graham had ever seen, and it overwhelmed her; in 1916 she joined Denishawn, the school and performing troupe that St. Denis co-led with her husband Ted Shawn. At 22, dangerously late for an aspiring dancer, Graham had found her destiny.
Martha Graham- A New Way After seven years with Denishawn, Graham moved to New York City and struck out on her own, giving solo recitals and eventually launching her own company, in 1929.
Martha Graham- A New Way In 1926, Martha Graham founded her dance company and school, living and working out of a tiny Carnegie Hall studio in midtown Manhattan. In developing her technique, Martha Graham experimented endlessly with basic human movement, beginning with the most elemental movements of contraction and release.
Martha Graham- A New Way Using these principles as the foundation for her technique, she built a vocabulary of movement that would "increase the emotional activity of the dancer's body." Martha Graham's dancing and choreography exposed the depths of human emotion through movements that were sharp, angular, jagged, and direct.
Martha Graham- A New Way The dance world was forever altered by Martha Graham's vision, which has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for generations of dance and theatre artists.
Modern Vs. Contemporary Graham actually despised the term "modern dance" and preferred "contemporary dance." She thought the concept of what was "modern" was constantly changing and was thus inexact as a definition.
Graham Choreography Martha Graham's ballets were inspired by a wide variety of sources, including modern painting, the American frontier, religious ceremonies of Native Americans, and Greek mythology. Many of her most important roles portray great women of history and mythology: Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Medea, Phaedra, Joan of Arc, and Emily Dickinson.
Graham Choreography In 1936, Graham made her defining work, "Chronicle", which signaled the beginning of a new era in contemporary dance. The dance brought serious issues to the stage for the general public in a dramatic manner. Influenced by the Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression and the Spanish Civil War, it focused on depression and isolation, reflected in the dark nature of both the set and costumes.
Graham Choreography Martha Graham choreographed 181 works in her lifetime. Among these are such well known ballets as Heretic (1929), Lamentation (1930), Primitive Mysteries (1931), Frontier (1935), Deep Song (1937), El Penitente (1940), Letter to the World (1940), Deaths and Entrances (1943), Appalachian Spring (1944), Cave of the Heart (1946), Errand into the Maze (1947), Night Journey (1947), Diversion of Angels (1948), Seraphic Dialogue (1955), Clytemnestra (1958), Embattled Garden (1958), Phaedra (1962), Frescoes (1978), Acts of Light (1981), The Rite of Spring (1984), Temptations of the Moon (1986), and Maple Leaf Rag (1990).
Graham’s Collaborations As an artist, Martha Graham conceived each new work in its entirety — dance, costumes, and music. During her 70 years of creating dances, Martha Graham collaborated with such artists as sculptor Isamu Noguchi; actor and director John Houseman; fashion designers Halston, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein; and renowned composers including Aaron Copland, Louis Horst (her mentor), Samuel Barber, William Schuman, Carlos Surinach, Norman Dello Joio, and Gian Carlo Menotti.
Graham’s Students Her company was the training ground for many future modern choreographers, including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. She created roles for classical ballet stars such as Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, welcoming them as guests into her company
Contract and Release The contraction serves as the foundation of Graham technique. Graham developed the idea from observing the physical manifestation of grief in the body. It is one of the fundamental characteristics of her choreography and as such, most of Graham exercises were created with the contraction in mind. While Graham was the creator of the contraction, the move has become a staple of modern dance and has been used, altered, and redefined by many subsequent choreographers.
Contract and Release A Graham contraction begins from the pelvis and travels up the spine, lengthening the space between each vertebra, up to the neck and head, which remain in line with the spine. Each contraction is accompanied with an exhalation of breath. To the inexperienced eye, a contraction may look like a sucking in of the gut or a hunching over of the torso. However, any change in the rib cage, shoulders, or neck, is a result of the building of the contraction from the pelvis and occurs automatically when it has been performed correctly.
Contract and Release The release is the counter to the contraction. It occurs on the inhalation of breath. A release also begins from the pelvis and travels up the spine to return the torso to a neutral, straight position.
Contract and Release A second type of release, called the high release occurs when a dancer opens their breastbone to the sky and seems to rest their torso on an invisible shelf beneath the shoulder blades. The rib cage maintains alignment over the hips with no break in the lower back. The head remains in line with the spine.
Spiral A twisting of the torso around the spine, or spiral, is another fundamental part of Graham technique. Like the contraction, the spiral begins in the pelvis and travels up the spine to the neck and head, although the head always stays in line with the spine. The changes in the torso take places as a cause and effect process as the spiral moves up from the pelvis. The lower spine must move before the shoulders which move before the neck, etc. As the dancer releases from the spiral and returns to a neutral position, the movement, again, originates from the pelvis and travels upwards. Read more: le.cfm/martha_graham_dance_technique#ixzz 0WITIo8TW le.cfm/martha_graham_dance_technique#ixzz 0WITIo8TW
Graham Technique Class All Graham classes spend approximately minutes performing exercises on the floor at the beginning of class. Much like a ballet technique class, there is a progression of specific exercises, each which can be altered to fit the ability level of the class. The floor work is especially focused on the use of the contraction/release and the spiral.
Graham Technique Class The middle of class is spent on center work with a set of standard exercises to warm up the legs and feet and to get the dancers moving. The rest of the class is spent applying the concepts learned in the beginning of class to combinations that move across the floor. Choreography from Graham dances may sometimes be used during this portion of the class to demonstrate the intersection of technique with repertory
Graham Company Founded in 1926 the Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance company in America.
Graham Company Since its inception, the Martha Graham Dance Company has received international acclaim from audiences in over 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance is located in New York City and is the headquarter to the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and the Martha Graham Dance Company.