Martha Graham
(1894 - 1991)
Died at age 96 Birthday: May 11 Sign: Taurus
She often repeated her father's saying: "movement never lies."
Martha Graham was a spectacular modern dancer and a brilliant star. Her career lasted 75 years and forever changed performers of both movement and dance. She is considered the mother of modern dance and innovated new choreographic masterworks, which expressed the human form in flowing sunsets of human feelings. She inducted a new language of dance and left a legacy.
Martha Graham Quotes

  • “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”
  • “The center of the stage is where I am.”
  • “The body is a sacred garment.”
  • “The body says what words cannot.”
  • “Nothing is more revealing than movement.”
  • “Our arms start from the back because they were once wings.”
  • “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”
  • “Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
  • “I am absorbed in the magic of movement and light. Movement never lies. It is the magic of what I call the outer space of the imagination. There is a great deal of outer space, distant from our daily lives, where I feel our imagination wanders sometimes. It will find a planet or it will not find a planet, and that is what a dancer does.”
  • “Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.”

In 1926, she started dancing at age 22.

At age 32, just ten years after beginning dance, in 1926, she started the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York and is still the oldest contemporary dance company in America.

She gave lessons to Bette Davis, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, and Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck. Gregory Peck died at 87 in the same year along with Katharine Hepburn at 95, Bob Hope at 100, and Gregory Hines at 57. She also trained Kirk Douglas. Kirk’s son Michael was honored as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, including Muhammad Ali and actor Marcel Marceau who also received the distinction.

She worked with the designer Noguchi who designed twenty set designs for her. Noguchi also collaborated on landscape projects with the visionary Buckminster Fuller. She also collaborated with fashion designers Donna Karan and Calvin Klein.

She created 181 ballets and a dance technique that has been compared to ballet in its scope and magnitude and stopped dancing in 1968 at the incredible age of 72.

In 1976, she received the US Medal of Freedom from President Gerald R. Ford and was a "national treasure," making her the first dancer and choreographer to receive this honor. President Ford's wife Betty once danced in Graham's troupe.

In 1985, she received the US National Medal of Arts presented by President Ronald Reagan.

In, many years after her death in 1998, she was named the "Dancer of the Century” by TIME Magazine and is recognized as of the twentieth century greats alongside Picasso, Stravinsky and Joyce, and Wright.

She worked until her death at 96 with a career lasting 75 years, similar to Frank Lloyd Wright, but she outlived him by four years.

April 1, 1991: After a 55-day tour of the Far East with her troupe she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She had pneumonia for two months, than at home she died of a heart attack at the age of 96 in Manhattan, New York.