Martha Graham Quotes About Dance, Life, and Art

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Allow me to introduce you to Martha Graham, a trailblazing figure in the dance world. Born in Pennsylvania in 1894, Graham would go on to reshape the dynamics of the dance industry, leaving an indelible mark on its history.

Throughout her lifetime, Graham choreographed a staggering 181 dances. Her approach to dance was revolutionary. She firmly believed that it should reflect the depth and complexity of human emotion. She created innovative techniques that forever altered how dancers moved and expressed themselves to achieve this.

Graham’s ballets drew inspiration from a diverse range of sources. She incorporated elements from Native American ceremonies, infusing her dances with their rich cultural heritage. Additionally, she found inspiration in American Frontier artwork and drew upon Greek mythology’s captivating narratives.

Known for her preference for sharp, angular movement, Graham believed that this dance style evoked a heightened emotional response. She sought to delve deep into the human experience, provoking powerful feelings through her choreography.

We invite you to immerse yourself in the wisdom and artistry of Martha Graham through these captivating quotes. She remains one of the most iconic dancers of the 20th century, and her contributions continue to inspire and influence generations of dancers and artists.

Martha Graham quotes about dance.

1. “The body never lies.” — Martha Graham

2. “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” — Martha Graham

3. “Dancers are the messengers of the gods.” — Martha Graham

4. “Nothing is more revealing than movement.” — Martha Graham

5. “Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.” — Martha Graham

6. “Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain.” — Martha Graham

7. “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.” — Martha Graham

8. “I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man – the landscape of his soul.” — Martha Graham

9. “Think of the magic of the foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.” — Martha Graham

10. “I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living…” — Martha Graham

11. “All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.” — Martha Graham

12. “We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life. This is the function of the American dance.” — Martha Graham

Martha Graham quotes about performance

13. “The body says what words cannot.” — Martha Graham

14. “Theater is a verb before it is a noun, an act before it is a place.” — Martha Graham

15. “The body is your instrument in dance, but your art is outside that creature, the body.” — Martha Graham

16. “Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul’s weather to all who can read it.” — Martha Graham

17. “I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.” — Martha Graham

18. “Dance is communication, and so the great challenge is to speak clearly, beautifully and with inevitability.” — Martha Graham

19. “The function of the body and the awareness of the body results in dance and you become a dancer, not just a human being.” — Martha Graham

20. “All things I do are in every woman. Every woman is Medea. Every woman is Jocasta. There comes a time when a woman is a mother to her husband. Clytemnestra is every woman when she kills.” — Martha Graham

21. “I did not want to be a tree, a flower, or a wave. In a dancer’s body, we as audience must see ourselves, not the imitated behavior of everyday actions, not the phenomenon of nature, not exotic creatures from another planet, but something of a miracle.” — Martha Graham

Martha Graham quotes about determination.

22. “Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” — Martha Graham

23. “Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.” — Martha Graham

24. “Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to when all they need is one reason why they can.” — Martha Graham

25. “There is a fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration; there are daily small deaths.” — Martha Graham