Home » Martha Graham, Pioneer of Modern Dance

  • Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed (Ovation TV)

    Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed (Ovation TV)

    Here we see a brief history of dance from the late 1920s through the era when modern dance was coming into its own. In the 20s performance dance was marked by Broadway musicals, vaudeville skits, minstrel shows, and ballroom exhibitions. Dance of a more serious nature meant classical ballet from Europe. As dance moved away from the rigid structure of ballet we see early innovators such as Isadora Duncan. However, when we trace our way back from Martha Graham who […]

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  • Martha Graham Dance Company – Diversion of Angels

    Martha Graham Dance Company – Diversion of Angels

    Set to the score of Diversion of Angels by Norman Dello Joio and choreographed by Martha Graham with the same name… Dancers come on stage as splashes of color, red yellow, and white, representing abstract tributes to love and enhanced, by contrast, by the ensemble. Diversion of Angels is dramatic in expression but without quite the intensity of emotion that many of Graham’s other works have. Much of this clip has a “sweeter”, more lyrical feel than what we typically […]

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  • Martha Graham Dance Company – Chicago Tour, 2007

    Martha Graham Dance Company – Chicago Tour, 2007

    A quick look back stage as the dancers prepare for the dress rehearsal of Diversion of Angels on a 2007 tour of Chicago… Inspired by a Wassily Kandinsky painting she saw in the Chicago Art Institute, Graham declared, “I will make a dance like that.” And so she did. In Diversion of Angels man and woman meet; man and woman part. The simple, flowing lines of the costumes, differing only in color, help to focus the eye on the dancers’ […]

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  • Martha Graham Dance Company – 2009 New York Season Promo

    Martha Graham Dance Company – 2009 New York Season Promo

    This video from Clytemnestra shows us what we’ve come to expect from Graham choreography. The ensemble typically in fairly strict unison, often sharp, rigid looking body positions, angular hands and arms, very deliberate looking precision in movement… And, of course, a very strong sense of the dramatic.. The sequence beginning at 1’30” is very unusual and somehow isn’t the type that I expected to see in this work. It felt a little unusual, maybe slightly out of place to me. […]

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  • Helen of Troy – Martha Graham’s Clytemnestra

    Helen of Troy – Martha Graham’s Clytemnestra

    Helen of Troy, one more “player” in Clytemnestra, Martha Graham’s only full-length production… Feeling responsible for causing the Trojan War, Helen of Troy, danced by Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch, expresses anguish and guilt the Graham way. This is dance drama. Classic mythology… And as such it may or may not suit the taste of today’s audiences. I hope you enjoyed this short video from Clytemnestra. If so, please like then share it with others.

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  • Night Journey (Chorus)

    Night Journey (Chorus)

    Night Journey is based on the Oedipus story in Greek mythology. Reinvented by Martha Graham, it reflects Queen Jocasta’s perspective in its creative, yet disturbing, portrayal of a woman who chooses a dual relationship with Oedipus, as her son, but whom she takes as her lover as well. We see easily recognized Graham technique in contract release movements, arched backs, bent feet, and the often angular shapes of the dancers’ hands. Some felt that Graham’s choreography was somewhat compromised during […]

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  • Martha Graham – Cave of the Heart

    Martha Graham – Cave of the Heart

    In Greek mythology, Medea uses her magical powers to take revenge on her lover, Jason. Obsessed with revenge, wracked by anger, and driven by jealously, Medea eviscerates herself, then tears out her guts and eats them. Her body trembles with rage as emotion consumes her body. Beautiful, intense, and fierce, this is a piece that’s not for the weak of heart. This piece expresses the dark side of human emotion. Did you enjoy it? If so, please like, then share […]

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  • Martha Graham –  Steps In The Streets

    Martha Graham – Steps In The Streets

    This short clip of Steps in the Streets was created by Martha Graham in 1936 and is the same year that she refused Hitler’s invitation to perform at the Arts Festival in Berlin. War not only kills….it also destroys. It destroys the human spirit; victims become the walking dead. Political in nature, intense in its choreography, its mood is one of despair. (Note: This choreography must have been terribly hard on the dancers’ backs.) Do you feel as I do […]

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  • Clytemnestra – Martha Graham Dance Company

    Clytemnestra – Martha Graham Dance Company

    In Greek mythology Clytemnestra was the powerful but reviled queen who murdered her husband. When watching this short clip from the full-length performance of Clytemnestra, notice Graham’s trademarks. The sharp, angular movements; the arms that slice through the air; the emotional facial expressions so reflective of the characters’ thoughts and feelings… Seen as Graham’s last work of any real importance, she pulled out all the stops. Some feel Clytemnestra was a success; others felt it was less so, that the […]

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  • Electra – from Martha Graham’s Clytemnestra

    Electra – from Martha Graham’s Clytemnestra

    In Greek mythology there are two women named Electra. The Electra portrayed in Martha Graham’s piece hopes to avenge her father’s death whom she holds her mother responsible for. As the music changes Electra’s hatred for her mother can be seen in Jennifer DePalo’s sharp, angular shapes and movements and certainly in her facial expressions. Then listen as the mood of the music changes. You’ll now notice the softer, gentler choreography that expresses Electra’s love of her father. How does […]

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