Monday, October 15, 2012

Blood Memory by Martha Graham

Freshly washed, white clothing would be easily blackened by a trip outdoors. Graham's memory from the city was that it often seemed dark, even in daylight.

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In spite in the bleak cultural and physical environment wherever she spent her childhood, Graham always experienced good delight and fascination. As soon as she was nonetheless a toddler, her parents took her towards the circus. Slipping away from her parents, she crawled over to 1 with the elephants. The creature and also the youngster looked into each other's eyes, filling Graham with an inspired feeling of mysterious and intimate contact with some thing alive but not human. The experience was very easily interrupted by her panicked father but it awakened Graham's lifelong fascination with animals. She would continue to draw inspiration from their specific sense of presence and would always spend hours studying the grace with which they moved.

When Graham was 14, her household moved to Santa Barbara, California to escape the cold winters and also the perpetual cloud of soot that aggravated her sister's athsma. Santa Barbara opened up a world of sunlight, flowers, sea breezes as well as the exotic Asian and Latino culture of their neighbors. For Graham it became a time of light and freedom and curiosity. She was thrilled and intoxicated by it.

In 1911, she spotted a poster promoting a dance concert to be given by Ruth St. Denis. The poster, which featured a picture of the dancer dressed in an exotic Asian costume, cap


tured Graham's imagination. She begged her father to take in her to determine the beautiful woman. It would be Graham's first dance concert.

Graham was unprepared for ones impression the dancer's performance would leave on her. St. Denis drew inspiration and material within the spiritual and esthetic traditions of Egypt and India. In 1 of her famous dances, she would evoke the presence on the Hindu goddess Radha. For Graham, St. Denis was a goddess figure. She knew instantly that she was going being a dancer.

Graham was often a headstrong woman. Throughout her life she maintained that irrepressible individualism that may be one on the crucial personality traits typically observed among great artists. She as soon as mentioned that "I would rather have an audience like me than dislike me, but I'd rather they disliked than be apathetic, simply because that is the kiss of death" (Graham, 1991, p. 114). Her innate tenacity always served her well, however. The very first of a series of six concerts she gave in Florence, Italy, was not heading well. The audience, expecting a much more classical style of dance, was getting unruly. Their shouts of disapproval had been unrelenting. Graham feared they may perhaps start throwing things. Daring to confront a potentially hostile house, Graham turned sharply to face the audience having a raised hand. The audience stopped. She knew she had them. The following time the audience misbehaved, she repeated the gesture and got the exact same response. The third time they became unruly, Graham brought the curtains down and instructed all the dancers on stage to preserve their eyes on the floor, stand perfectly still and don't bow for the audience. Once the curtain rose for ones conventional bow, the dancers did as Graham said. A gasp came during the audience, and then thunderous applause as the curtains went down. This was repeated numerous times until the audience became quiet. Graham then walked to the front from the stage, turned her back over a audience and bowed to her dance.

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