Martha Graham

Quick Facts

Full NameMartha Graham
Date of BirthMay 11, 1894
Place of BirthPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Date of DeathApril 1, 1991 (aged 96)
Place of DeathNew York City, U.S.
Known forDance and choreography
MovementModern dance
SpouseErick Hawkins (m. 1948–1954)
AwardsKennedy Center Honors (1979), Presidential Medal of Freedom (1976), National Medal of Arts (1985)
SignificanceReshaped American dance with the Graham technique, still taught worldwide
FirstsThe first dancer to perform at the White House and travel abroad as a cultural ambassador
HonorsReceived the highest civilian award of the US, the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction
LegacyMartha Graham School founded in 1926, oldest school of dance in the United States
Quote“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. Nevertheless, it is inevitable.”
CareerDanced and taught for over seventy years, performed one of Ted Shawn’s Egyptian dances in a short silent film in 1922
InfluenceHad honors ranging from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan’s Imperial Order of the Precious Crown
SchoolMartha Graham School is the oldest school of dance in the United States, founded in 1926
FilmAppeared in a short silent film in 1922 attempting to synchronize a dance routine on film with a live orchestra

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