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.
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: "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. . ."
Martha graham style. Graham: "I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It's permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable."