Martha Graham

By: Ella Witmer

The Beginnings

Every successful person has their beginnings. In this case, Martha studied the emotion expressed in each step. She learned this from watching a lion pace back and forth in it's cage. She was interested by the amazing power of the lion's steps. How you could share so much about your emotion by the way you move. By watching and understanding the lion's movement, so much can be learned.


Her first lesson was taught to her by her own fault.

"Martha" her father said, "you're not being honest, are you?"

The little girl's lips trembled, her loose hands clenched into fists, and tears rolled down her cheek

"Don't you know when you do something like this, I always know? There is always some movement that tells me you are deceiving me. You see, no matter what you say, your movement always reveals the truth- remember Martha, movement never lies.


Even though this little girl, Martha forgot what she even lied about, she remembered that terrible moment and her father's words. Her movements had given her away, her hands, her feet, even her eyes! It was though her body spoke for her. Even when her mouth said something else.


Those were her first lessons as a dancer.

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul" -Martha Graham

Rising to the top

Martha was twenty-two when she realized that she wanted to be a dancer. She auditioned with Mrs. Ruth, a very famous idol to Martha. Despite her unpromising audition, she barely made into Denishawn, a professional dance company. With lots of improvement and determination at the academy, Martha shocked Mrs. Ruth with quick mastery of difficult steps.


That later year she surprised her instructor even more. One day when she was watching the advanced students practice, another teacher, Shawn saw Martha and thought that she would be perfect for a solo part that the advanced dancers couldn't do.

"Too bad Martha doesn't know the dance, she would be perfect for the solo." Shawn said.

"But I know it!" Martha insisted.

"That is impossible! You have never performed it!" Shawn told her.

Shawn watched in awe as Martha took the floor, and mastered a difficult dance just from watching others dance it.


Her performance was so impressive and amazing that Shawn immediately made her a leading dancer. From that day on she performed Serenata Morisca, a very famous dance onstage regularly.


She spent the rest of her life performing, choreographing, teaching her own company, Martha Graham Dance Company, until she died at 97.