/multimedia/series/AEMicrosites/martha-graham

A Dancer's Journal: Martha Graham

Step into a dancer’s shoes to learn about the "mother of modern dance"

About

Age range: Good for 10-18 year olds

Estimated Time: Give yourself some time! This interactive takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Key Technology: You will need speakers (or headphones) for the music parts and Flash Player version 7 or higher to view the site.

This interactive site is an introduction to the life and work of Martha Graham, known as "the mother of modern dance." You will learn about specific dances through the journals of Jordy Kandinsky, a (fictional) new member of the Martha Graham Dance Company. In Jordy's journals, you will find letters, newspaper articles, checklists, photographs, video clips, and music that illuminate various aspects of the dance Jordy is learning. Jordy keeps journals for four Graham dances—Lamentation, Appalachian Spring, Errand into the Maze and Diversion of Angels.

Think About...

There’s lots to explore on this site. Make sure you click on each item so you don’t miss anything!

Be sure to check out the video and audio clips of each dance. They will help you picture the dance as you learn more about it.

Did You Get It?

  • What are the two ways dancers prepare for every role?
  • What did Martha Graham want to show in her new type of dance? How was breathing related to this?
  • Think about each of the dance journals you explored. What is each dance about?

Think About It!

Think about each of the dances you explored on the site.

  • What might have inspired Graham to create this dance? What might be the dance's "message"?
  • How do the choices of instruments, rhythms, and melodies in the music help communicate the dance's emotion?
  • One of the articles tells you that Martha Graham’s choreography “welcomes gravity and works with it”. What do you think that means?

What’s Your Take?

  • What did you learn about the life of a dancer? How is it challenging?
  • What questions would you like to ask Jordy?
  • What were your favorite video or audio clips?
  • What experiences in your own life could be used as inspiration for a dance in the style of Martha Graham? What do you imagine it would look like?

Learn More

Dig Deeper!

Visit the official site of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance.

For the Educator

This interactive may be used on it’s own or along with the following ArtsEdge lessons:

  • Graphs of the Heart
  • Graham's "Appalachian Spring": A Study
  • Landscapes of the Mind
  • The Innovative Voice
These lessons do not directly incorporate the interactive, but dig deeper into the concepts, background information, and dances contained in the interactive site.

Instructional Strategies

Invite students to work individually or in pairs to explore the items outside and inside the locker, as well as within one or more of the journals. Most students will quickly figure out that the content in the journals "zooms up" and is manipulated by moving the mouse around the screen. You may wish to give students this hint or allow them to discover how to navigate through the content on their own.

Credits

Sources

Main Page, Locker Door and Interior:

Main Page, Girl in Yellow Martha Graham Ensemble

Diversion of Angels

Kumiko Nasu

© Photograph by Julie Lemberger, 2005 Article, Locker interior Martha Graham Teaching

© Sam Falk/NYTimes

Lamentation Journal:

001 Dancer: Peggy Lyman

© Photograph by Martha Swope

002

Dancer: Janet Eilber

© Photograph by Max Waldman Archive

003

Dancer: Peggy Lyman

© Photograph by Alexandros Giannakis

004

Dancer: Martha Graham

Courtesy of Martha Graham Resources

Music

No. 2 from Neun Klavierstücke, op. 3. Zoltán Kodály

Video Clip 1

Choreography and Costume by Martha Graham

Music by Louis Horst.

Dancer: Janet Eilber.

Filmed and produced by The American Repertory Dance Company

Video Clip 2

Choreography and Costume by Martha Graham

Music by Louis Horst.

Dancer: Martha Graham

Appalachian Spring Journal:

001

Dancer: Martha Graham (Bride)

© Photograph by Arnold Eagle

002 Dancers: Terese Capucilli (Bride), Mikhail Baryshnikov (Husbandman), Maxine Sherman (Pioneering Woman), Rudolf Nureyev (Preacher)

© Photograph by Nan Melville 003 Dancer: Joyce Herring (Bride)

© Photograph by Lois Greenfield, 1994 004 Dancers: Pascal Rioult (Preacher) and Group

© Photograph by Lois Greenfield 1994 005 Dancer: Miki Orihara (Bride) and Group

© Photograph by Kristen Lodoen 006 Dancers: Virginie Mecene, Alessandra Prosperi, Susan Kaufmann, Elizabeth Auclair (Followers)

© Photograph by Kristen Lodoen 007 Appalachian Spring, stage set designed by Isamu Noguchi for Martha Graham, 1944

Courtesy of the Noguchi Museum and of the Music Division, Library of Congress. 008 Dancers: Gary Galbraith (Husbandman) and Virginie Mécène (Bride)

© Photograph by John Deane 009 Dancer: Gary Galbraith (Preacher)

© Photograph by John Deane 010 Dancers: Tadej Brdnik (Husbandman), Miki Orihara (Bride)

© Photograph by John Deane 011 Dancer: Virginie Mécène (Bride)

© Photograph by John Deane Music Appalachian Spring. Aaron Copland. Used by arrangement with the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, copyright owners; and Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., sole publisher and licensee. Video Excerpts 1954 Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham

Music by Aaron Copland

Sets by Isamu Noguchi

Dancers: Martha Graham (Bride), Stuart Hodes (Husbandman), Matt Turney (Pioneering Woman), Bertram Ross (Preacher), with Yuriko, Helen McGehee, Ethel Winter and Miriam Cole (The Followers)

© Kroll Productions, Inc. Video Excerpts 1999 Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham

Music by Aaron Copland

Sets by Isamu Noguchi

Dancers: Miki Orihara (Bride), Tadej Brdnik (Husbandman), Katherine Crockett (Pioneering Woman), Martin Lofsnes (Preacher) with Alessandra Prosperi, Virginie Mecene, Erica Dankmeyer, Jennifer DePalo (The Followers)

Courtesy of the Music Division, Library of Congress.

© Library of Congress and Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc.

Diversion of Angels Journal:

Music

Diversion of Angels . Norman Dello Joio. Copyright Carl Fischer; music courtesy Carl Fischer.

Video Clips

Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham

Music by Norman Dello Joio

Dancers: The Couple in Yellow: Theresa Maldonado and Mario Camacho

The Couple in Red: Kathy Buccellato and Duane Cyrus

The Couple in White: Maxine Sherman and Donlin Foreman With Young-Ha Yoo, Miki Orihara, Myra Woodruff, Laura Jimenez and Daniela Stass

© 1991, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc. and Cameras Continentales/LA SEPT

Errand Into the Maze Journal:

Music

Errand into the Maze. Gian Carlo Menotti. Copyright Associated Music Publishers. Used by arrangement with G. Schirmer.

Video Clips

Choreography and Costumes by Martha Graham

Music by Gian-Carlo Menotti

Sets by Isamu Noguchi

Dancers: Terese Capucilli and Larry White

Audio/Video Disc:

Music

Music used in Cave of the Heart Medea , Op. 23. Samuel Barber. Copyright G. Schirmer. Used by arrangement with G. Schirmer.

Video Clips

“Helios” from Acts of Light : Technique Demonstration

Dancers: Martha Graham Dance Company

Project Concept Direction and Development Lynne B. Silverstein, Senior Program Consultant, Education Department, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Janet Eilber, Artistic Director, Martha Graham Resources, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance Nuit Hansgen, Director, ARTSEDGE John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Media Research Laura Raucher, Archivist/Resource Associate, Martha Graham Resources Aaron Sherber, Music Director, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance Flash Design and Programming Planit Agency Audio Production and Post Fraidy Cat A/V Video Production and Post Safe~Light Films Cuesheet Design Carla Badaracco Design Supporting Curriculum Design Jayne Karsten Supporting Curriculum Editor Leslie J. Yerman

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