Contemporary Dance: The Martha Graham Technique

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Martha Graham broke boundaries, stereotypes and rules. She had the ambitious desire to explore unknown pathways and lead contemporary evolution. An American modern dancer, teacher and choreographer, Graham was successful in challenging traditional styles with contemporary dance . She formed her own practice with personalised principles known as the Graham technique, which is recognised as one of the most successful progressions in contemporary history. Nowadays, being taught across the world the Graham technique innovatively features the key principles of contraction and release of muscles, the pelvis centring the body and emotive intent behind movement. Martha Graham was additionally a pioneer in the field of dance choreography and performance…show more content…
Graham encouraged through her syllabus that movement initiated from the tension created when muscles are in a contracted state, and how the continuing energy flow is released as the muscles return to a relaxed state. Contraction can be described as the strong pulling back and curving of the torso. The opposing movement, release is therefore the relaxation of the contraction and the torso returns to a straight stance. Graham is known for attaching meaning to movement, she translated emotional experience into the physical form of movement through contemporary dance. In the Graham technique this idea is still relevant as she gave clear and perceivable meaning to every movement. The contraction and release being opposing movements are symbolic of the adversity that discrepancies create in everyday life. The contraction and release mechanism which Graham enforced in her technique broke away from the stereotypes of movement in the 1920s. Graham’s technique also explores the floor and gravity relationship that a dancer must embody, especially during many of her syllabus exercises. Graham taught the principle of respecting the power of gravity and demonstrated this through incorporating forceful falls to the ground into her training repertory. She expresses this movement as both a physical step as well as a…show more content…
She created a technique which pushed past rigid classical ballet sybusses and created a series of innovative exercises which changed the face of movement in the 1920s. Graham intertwined her technique principles and choreography, as she emerged in the 1930s with modern works, shocking audiences and breaking barriers of dance. Martha Graham was a dance icon, she saw past the perceptions of dance and developed innovative movement, exercises and choreography, her desire to explore these new pathways enabled dance to grow and contemporary to ultimately
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