"I give the dancers a technique. Technique is a language that makes strain impossible." – Martha Graham

"There is one bit of technique, which takes sixteen beats, that I have always used to instruct students. Imagine that the crown of your head is on your feet and you must bring the rest of your head down to join it. Let the soles of your feet come together like a prayer. There is a high lift on the counts of two and four, with the entire body in a seated position rising from the floor. The movement is coming up from the base of your body to the top of your head." – Martha Graham
For the pleadings: "It is a position with the body on the floor, a slight contraction in the body, with the breath in, the arms at the sides cupped open to the sky. Think of Michelangelo's Pietà, or that extraordinary Bernini Ecstasy of St. Theresa. I have seen a photograph of a rock singer with that same look of exaltation." – Martha Graham
The Martha Graham Dance Legacy Project
For the first time the Martha Graham Dance Company, in collaboration with Dance Spotlight, is digitally recording all of the Graham Technique and movement vocabulary. This passionate undertaking will provide students and teachers with an invaluable resource assuring the revolutionary technique and movements are not lost.
"For the contraction, the expelling of the air in your body from the pelvis upward: Every study involves continuity. Pull, pull on the contraction. Do not cave in. And the contraction is not a position. It is a movement into something. It is like a pebble thrown into the water, which makes rippling circles when it hits the water. The contraction moves." – Martha Graham
The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance
 “Your training only gives you freedom.” – Martha Graham
"No matter the age of the student, the message I want to convey through the teaching of movement is the same. I want my students, above all, to be in rhythm and time, not just participating in something that has no relationship to the other dancers or to the music." – Martha Graham
“The ear should be in a straight line with the shoulder and the pelvis bone. That brings the head back, the diaphragm in. It shows the back of the head like a child's, and that is the effect it is supposed to give – like a child full of wonder and excitement.” – Martha Graham
"I try to give children the excitement of dance. I explain to them what they are doing, how they are breathing. You can be Eastern or Burmese or what have you, but 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
"I want all of my students and all of my dancers to be aware of the poignancy of life at that moment. I would like feel that I had, in some way, given them the gift of themselves." – Martha Graham
"A Dancer's World"
In this 1957 film, Martha Graham invites the viewer into her studios on East 63rd Street in New York. Graham offers insight into her theories of dance technique and performance as it is demonstrated by the dancers in her world-famous company. The dancers featured in this film are: Lillian Biersteker, Robert Cohan, Miriam Cole, Martha Graham, Mary Hinkson, Gene McDonald, Helen McGehee, Bertram Ross, Ellen Siegel, Ethel Winter, David Wood, and Yuriko.
Credits: Story

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance All Rights Reserved

For more information, please visit us at http://marthagraham.org/

Curation by Oliver Tobin

Works Cited:

Armitage, Merle, and John Martin. Martha Graham. New York: Dance Horizons, 1966. Print.

Cunningham, Imogen, and Richard Lorenz. Imogen Cunningham, 1883-1976. Köln: Taschen, 2001. Print.

Graham, Martha. Blood Memory. New York: Doubleday, 1991. Print.

Mille, Agnes. Martha, The Life and Work of Martha Graham. New York: Random House, 1988. Print.

Morgan, Barbara Brooks. Martha Graham, Sixteen Dances in Photographs. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Morgan & Morgan, 1980. Print.

Sayler, Oliver M. Revolt in the Arts. New York: Brentano's, 1930. Print.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.