Martha Graham, a tenth generation American, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a direct descendant of Miles Standish. She lived in Pittsburg until she was ten, when her father, a well known physician, moved his family to Santa Barbara, California. She was educated in private schools in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. She did not study dancing until she was in her third year in high school, although she cannot remember the time when it was not her wish to be a dancer. When she was sixteen years old she saw a dance concert by Ruth St. Denis, and her desire to dance was crystallized. In the summer of that year she went to Los Angeles to study at the Denishawn school. She returned to the school as a student teacher and later was soloist with the denishawn Concert Company. During 1924-25, she taught at the Eastman School of Music Company. During 1924-25, she taught at the Eastman School of Music Company. During 1924-25, she taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She made her New York debut in recital in 1926.

Since that time Martha Graham's activity has been increasingly original and creative. From dance appearances in such works as Strauss' Ein Heldenleben and Stravinsky's Sacre du Printemps, and form directorial assignments with Stage Alliance, and Katharine Cornell, she turned intense development of her own theatre. In 1932 and 1939 the Guggenheim Foundation gave a scholarship to Martha Graham, the first ever to be given a dancer. Sine 1939 she has toured the United States extensively. For some years she has been giving repertory seasons in New York. She opened the contemporary school for dance in New York and from among her students the company was formed. In 1937 she danced for President Roosevelt in the White House. In 1949 she was chosen by the National Women's Press Club as one of the six outstanding women of the year. In April 1950 she was cited by President Truman.

Her early works, notably Primitive Mysteries, Dithyrambic, Ekstasis, and Frontier, were classic dance compositions. With Every Soul is a Circus, in 1939 she reached a peak of creative activity which as been incredibly sustained. In 1940 El Penitente and Letter to the World were premiered in New York. There followed Deaths and Entrances, Herodiade, Cave of the Heart, Errand into the Maze, Appalachian Spring; and more recently Canticle for Innocent Comedians, Diversion of Angels, Ardent Song (premiered in London in 1954), Seraphic Dialogue and two solo works, Judith and the Triumph of St. Joan, performed by Miss Graham with full symphony orchestra.

In 1954 Miss Graham and her company spent four months on an extensive tour of Europe and in 1955-56 they toured the Far East under the International Exchange Program, performing in Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore, in Malaya, in Djakarta, Rangoon, East and West Pakistan, Ceylon and in Madras, Calcutta, Bombay and New Delhi in India; in Abadan and Tehran in Iran, and in Israel. In the fall of 1956 Miss Graham and her Company produced, for educational television, a film on the Martha Graham technique; this film, entitled A DANCER'S WORLD, HAD SUBSEQUENTLY RECEIVED INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM. MISS Graham's most recent appearance was in here solo work Judith in Berlin, Germany, upon the occasion of the opening of the Benjamin Franklin congress Hall, in September, 1957.

Interesting Links

Martha Graham Dance Company

 

Noguchi.org

University of Pittsburgh

Time Life Article

 

University of Provence