Magdalene Ayuk
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Women Who Made History: Martha Graham

Statuesque figure exuding grace as she commanded the floor, Martha Graham invigorated modern dance. Graham bravely broke away from the sometimes stoic quality of ballet, and delved into a dance form that forged extreme sentiment with technicality. Her career can be summed up as a search for self-expression, which materialized into the creation of the Martha Graham Dance Company; it survived its creator until this day and gave birth to many reputable dancers.

Also bearing her name is the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, providing training for prospective dancers such as Madonna back in the day. I might be off, but I think she’s kind of famous now.

Read more on the extraordinary Martha Graham, after the jump!

Martha Graham constantly pushed boundaries, twisting her body to-and-fro into rather explicitly sexual moves; danced violently but executed with the utmost amount of finesse. Graham is referred as the Picasso of dance, and rightfully so. Picasso’s world was not composed of straight lines, but rather exaggerated figures, which in their distortion and exaggeration, somehow rendered something real…think about it.

President Ford and Martha Graham admire the Medal of Freedom which Ford had just presented to her at the White House 10/15/1976. The medal is the nation’s highest civilian award. President Ford’s wife Betty danced in Miss Graham’s troupe before marriage to the President.

Graham’s lines and movements were not classical, but the were as real as a heartbreak, as the heat rays, as pulsing Latin drums. Real; which is why 18 years after her death, this woman is still worthy of mention.

For more on this remarkable woman, please visit

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One Response to “Women Who Made History: Martha Graham”

  1. Stella says:

    I LOVE that you included her for this. Every dancer at this point is influenced by her as she was a revolution!


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