Martha Graham

Martha
Graham
1893
1991

American Dancer, Choreographer

Author Quotes

Our arms start from the back because they were once wings.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.

People have asked me why I chose to be a dancer. I did not choose: I was chosen to be a dancer, and, with that, you live all your life.

There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.

Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

They never raised a statue to a critic.

Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.

Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.

The body is a sacred garment: it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor, and with joy and with fear as well. But always, though, with blessing.

To me, a building - if it's beautiful - is the love of one man, he's made it out of his love for space, materials, things like that.

The body is shaped, disciplined, honored, and in time, trusted. The movement becomes clean, precise, eloquent, truthful. Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it. This might be called the law of the dancer's life ? the law which governs the outer aspects.

To me, the body says what words cannot. I believe that dance was the first art. A philosopher has said that dance and architecture were the first arts. I believe that dance was first because it's gesture, it's communication. That doesn't mean it's telling a story, but it means it's communicating a feeling, a sensation to people.

The body is your instrument in dance, but your art is outside that creature, the body.

To me, the only sin is mediocrity.

The body says what words cannot.

To practice means to perform, in the face of all obstacles some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

The erotic element is life, but doesn't have to absorb you, it doesn't have to be a naughty word. It's the love of life in many ways.

We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.

The main thing, of course, always, is the fact that there is only one of you in the world, just one, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost. Ambition is not enough; necessity is everything.

What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.

The most brilliant scientific discoveries will in time change and perhaps grow obsolete as new scientific manifestations emerge. But art is eternal, for it reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man.

When you start with an idea, or something hits you, then you have to follow that through to the end, and it's the following through to the end that makes the pattern. That, for me, is choreography.

The next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.

You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost.

The only sin is mediocrity.

Author Picture
First Name
Martha
Last Name
Graham
Birth Date
1893
Death Date
1991
Bio

American Dancer, Choreographer