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Martha Graham (1894 – 1991)


American dancer and choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, and is widely considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
Martha Graham
Dancing is very like poetry. It's like poetic lyricism, sometimes, it's like the rawness of dramatic poetry, it's like the terror — or it can be like a terrible revelation of meaning. Because when you light on a word it strikes you to your heart.
Graham quotes
I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living.
Graham
Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery — what it all means… 




Graham Martha quotes
Movement never lies.
Graham Martha
The body is a sacred garment: it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honour, and with joy and with fear as well. But always, though, with blessing.
Martha Graham quotes
I am absorbed in the magic of movement and light. Movement never lies. It is the magic of what I call the outer space of the imagination.
Martha Graham
The body is shaped, disciplined, honoured, and in time, trusted. The movement becomes clean, precise, eloquent, truthful. Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it. This might be called the law of the dancer's life — the law which governs the outer aspects.
Graham Martha quotes
To practice means to perform, in the face of all obstacles some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.
Graham
I use the words gods and goddesses principally, I think, to mean beautiful bodies — bodies that are absolute instruments. And I believe in discipline, I believe in a very definite technique. You have no right to go before a public without an adequate technique, just because you feel. Anything feels — a leaf feels, a storm feels — what right have you to do that? You have to have speech, and it's a cultivated speech.
Graham Martha
Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.
Martha Graham
Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths. Then I need all the comfort that practice has stored in my memory, a tenacity of faith.




Martha Graham quotes
The main thing, of course, always, is the fact that there is only one of you in the world, just one, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost. Ambition is not enough; necessity is everything.
Martha Graham
I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of mankind — the landscape of the human soul. I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human being can be.
Graham quotes
I think comedy is the most difficult thing in the world, I really do. One can always lament, you know — but to laugh in the face of life, that's very hard. And for me the great tragedian should also be a great comedian.
Graham Martha
When you start with an idea, or something hits you, then you have to follow that through to the end, and it's the following through to the end that makes the pattern. That, for me, is choreography.
Graham Martha quotes
We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life. This is the function of the American dance.
Martha Graham
To me, the body says what words cannot. I believe that dance was the first art. A philosopher has said that dance and architecture were the first arts. I believe that dance was first because it's gesture, it's communication. That doesn't mean it's telling a story, but it means it's communicating a feeling, a sensation to people.
Dance is the hidden language of the soul, of the body. And it's partly the language that we don't want to show.
Martha Graham quotes
I don't try to tell the dancers exactly what a dance means before they do it. I can correct it and tell them what they have done after they have done it, and what it means to me. But I don't say, "Be fearful here," "Be angry here," because I think that is intrusion.
Martha Graham
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.
Graham Martha
The next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.


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