Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. She danced and choreographed for over seventy years. Photo was taken by Imogen Cunningham in 1931.
Dancer Martha Graham, New York, 1931. Photograph by Edward Steichen. Steichen could not take photographs in motion, which could have made photographing dancers difficult. So when working with dancers he had them move into sculpted gestures and hold...
Martha Graham Graham identified a method of breathing and impulse control she called "contraction and release." For her, movement originated in the tension of a contracted muscle, and continued in the flow of energy released from the body as the muscle relaxed. This method of muscle control gave Graham's dances and dancers a hard, angular look, one that was very unfamiliar to dance audiences used to the smooth, lyrical bodily motions of Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis.
Martha Graham, Lamantation, 1930. De manier van dansen die Graham ontwikkelde, staat bekend als Grahamdans. Naast het klassiek ballet is dit het enige uitgewerkte systeem voor beroepsdansers. In deze dans is het middenrif het startpunt voor iedere beweging: spanning en ontspanning door in- en uitademen. Andere kenmerken zijn het vallen, de spiraal (het na elkaar ronddraaien van bekken, middel, schouders en hoofd) kruipen, vallen, rollen en zwiepende bewegingen.