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Martha Graham's Creative Approach to Dance

In the world of dance, Martha GrahamÆs influence as an artist has been substantial and monumental. She has been compared to Stravinksi, Picasso and Shakespeare due to the high standard of innovation with which she extended the vocabulary of artistic expression. Her creative approach to an art form that had been narrowly defined by a rigidly codified classical tradition initiated and inspired a revolution in the world of dance.

Numerous writers have offered insight into GrahamÆs life, art, and influence. An interesting and valuable volume in this substantial body of literature is Ernestine StodelleÆs Deep Song: The dance story of Martha Graham. Stodelle was a friend of Graham and a talented dancer in her own right. As such, she was able to provide not only an interesting retelling of the significant events in the great artistÆs life and artistic career, but also vivid descriptions of GrahamÆs creations as seen through the eyes of a fellow dancer, and re-created through the fluid prose of a talented writer.

The events of GrahamÆs life are well known. She was born on May 11 1894, in the industrial town of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. While Allegheny had little to offer in terms of artistic inspiration, Graham managed to retain and develop her childhood sense of fascination and curiosity. When Graham was 14, the family moved to Santa Barbara, California. The sunny, multicultural atmosphere of Santa Barbara was a source of delight for young Graham.

At age 17, Graham went with her father to see her first dance concert, a performance given by Ruth St. Denis. The concert made a life-altering impression on Graham. She realized instantly that she would be a dancer. She studied dance at Cumnock Junior College and then with St. Denis and Ted Shawn at the Denishawn school. She became a talent performer with the Denishawn group and achieved enough fame that she later moved on to dance in the Greenwich Village Follies of...

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Martha Graham's Creative Approach to Dance. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:42, February 23, 2017, from