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Primitive Mysteries (1931): Martha Graham and Dance Group

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Photograph of Martha Graham and Dance Group in 'Hymn to the Virgin' from Primitive Mysteries (1931) from 1935.

"I think in presenting us with Primitive Mysteries, Martha really gave us a marvelous quietness that permeated the whole Group. Everyone felt it, this belief in oneness. And when I was near her, she had the mystic verity of a figure to be worshipped. When she put out her hand to bless, when she touched you, when she was performing, it was not Martha, it was the 'other'. Even through the extension of her fingers or the gentleness of her hands – and, you know, they were rarely gentle in real life – a vibration took over her being; you saw it in her face, you felt it in her body. She didn't see us, she made us become what she demanded of us by looking, if it was indeed looking. I think she brought out in us with her look or her presence more potentiality than we ever dreamt that we had. She made us feel 'of the moment'. We were caught up. She made magic.” – Gertrude Shurr in "Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham" by Agnes DeMille

Premiere of Primitive Mysteries: February 2, 1931 – The Craig Theatre, New York City
Choreography by Martha Graham
Costumes by Martha Graham
Music by Louis Horst

Photograph by Barbara Morgan

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