Martha Graham Dance Company

Founded in 1926, The Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest modern dance company in the United States of America.

By Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Martha Graham Dance CompanyMartha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926. Informed by the expansive vision of its pioneering founder, the Company has expanded contemporary dance’s vocabulary with masterpieces such as Appalachian Spring, Lamentation, and Chronicle, rooted in social, political, psychological, and sexual contexts. Always a fertile ground for experimentation, the Martha Graham Dance Company has been an unparalleled resource in nurturing many of the leading choreographers and dancers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Graham’s groundbreaking technique and unmistakable style have earned the Company acclaim from audiences in more than 50 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Today, the Company continues to foster Graham’s spirit of ingenuity. It embraces a new vision that showcases classics by Graham, her contemporaries and their successors alongside newly commissioned works. The Company is actively working to create new platforms for contemporary dance and multiple points of access for audiences.

Martha Graham and Dance Group Program Martha Graham and Dance Group Program, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Eleven page program of Martha Graham and Dance Group. Please click on the image to explore.

Heretic (1929)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Heretic (1929)

Heretic (1929), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Heretic (1929), 1929-04-14, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Heretic (1929), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Dance Magazine Review of Heretic (1929) Dance Magazine Review of Heretic (1929), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Costume Sketch for Martha Graham's Heretic (1929), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Heretic Costume, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Heretic (1929), 1929-04-14, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Heretic, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Music Score for Heretic (1929), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Dancer Bessie Schoenberg recalled, "The music Louis (Horst) found for her (Graham), 'Old Breton Song', had the thrust and sparse melodic content she needed; by repeating it several times with intervals of silence, she could restate her theme with the mounting crescendo of a pitched battle."

Set Sketch for Heretic (1929) Set Sketch for Heretic (1929), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham and Dance Group in Heretic (1929)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Lamentation (1930)

Lamentation is a "dance of sorrow." It is not the sorrow of a specific person, time, or place, but the personification of grief itself.

Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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"Lamentation" by Carlos Dyer, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Music Score for Lamentation (1930) Music Score for Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Costume Sketch for Martha Graham's Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in LamentationMartha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Martha Graham in Lamentation (1930)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Janet Eilber in Martha Graham's Lamentation, 1976, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Peggy Lyman Hayes in Martha Graham's Lamentation, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Joyce Herring in Martha Graham's Lamentation, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Lamentation Rehearsal with Martha Graham, 1984-06, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham Dance Company in Lamentation Variations (2007-09-11/2015)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

The "Lamentation Variations" are short works created for the Martha Graham Dance Company inspired by Graham’s iconic solo and choreographed by some of today’s most note-worthy choreographers.

"Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Chronicle (1936)

“This is a time of action, not re-action. The dance is action, not attitude, not an interpretation. There is a change in the artist's attitude toward his material. The modern dancer does not look upon it as an escape, but finds it exciting. There is a miracle in yourself. No dance can be transplanted from one nation to another and retain its purity and integrity. The history of the dance is the social history of the world.” – Martha Graham

Martha Graham in "Tragic Holiday" from Chronicle (1936), 1936-12-20, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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"Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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"Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham and Dance Group in Excerpts of Chronicle (1936)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Guild Theatre Program for the Premiere of Chronicle, 1936-12-20, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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New York Post Review of Chronicle (1936), 1936-12-21, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Excerpts from Chronicle (1936) (1938-04-07)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Terese Capucilli in "Spectre-1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Terese Capucilli in "Spectre-1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Terese Capucilli in "Spectre-1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Fang-Yi Sheu in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Elizabeth Auclair in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Blakeley White-McGuire in Martha Graham's "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Fang-Yi Sheu in "Spectre – 1914" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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PeiJu Chien-Pott and the Martha Graham Dance Company in "Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936), 2013, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Miki Orihara and The Martha Graham Dance Company in "Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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"Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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"Prelude to Action" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Jennifer DePalo-Peterson in "Prelude to Action" from Chronicle (1936), From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham Dance Company in "Steps in the Street" from Chronicle (1936)Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

Martha Graham and Dance Group Program Martha Graham and Dance Group Program, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Smith College Dance Group presents Martha Graham and Dance Group Smith College Dance Group presents Martha Graham and Dance Group, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Martha Graham's New York Concerts & Repertoire 1926-1937 Martha Graham's New York Concerts & Repertoire 1926-1937, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Roster for the Martha Graham Dance Company, 1926, From the collection of: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
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Credits: Story

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc. 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.
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