Martha Graham was an American dancer and choreographer who revolutionized the world of modern dance. Her contributions to the art form continue to inspire dancers and audiences worldwide.

Early Life

Martha Graham was born on May 11, 1894, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was the oldest of three daughters in a family that valued education and culture. Her father was a physician and her mother a former schoolteacher.

Discovering Dance

Graham's interest in dance started at an early age when she attended concerts with her family. She went on to study at Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts in Los Angeles under Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn.

Developing a Unique Style

Graham struggled to find her own voice as a dancer until she began experimenting with movements inspired by natural human actions such as breathing and walking.

Founding Martha Graham Dance Company

In 1926, Martha Graham founded her own dance company where she continued to develop her unique style of movement. The company quickly gained popularity both nationally and internationally.

Contributions to Modern Dance

Graham's contributions to modern dance include creating a new technique based on contraction and release of muscles, using stark stage sets, costumes, music, and lighting all aimed towards expressing emotions through movement.

Later Years

Graham continued performing well into her 70s while giving classes around the world as well as staging new productions for her dance company. After suffering several strokes in the late 1980s, Graham died on April 1st, 1991 at the age of 96.


Martha Graham changed the landscape of modern dance forever by creating an entirely new technique while specializing innovative storytelling through movement that continues even today inspiring professionals worldwide.