Photograph of Martha Graham in Xochitl (1920). Ted Shawn choreographed this piece, about an Indian Princess, on Graham in which she danced the title role of Xochitl. Ted Shawn played the role of Emperor Tepancaltzin. Martha recalled that during a performance, Shawn dropped her on her head and she passed out for a few seconds. When she came to, Graham bit Shawn on the arm and drew blood. Martha claimed, "I suppose that is when my reputation for having a violent temper began. I was savage at that time."

Xochitl premiered in Long Beach, California in June 1920.

Photograph by Nickolas Muray


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