Martha Graham Love Quotes and Sayings
#1 Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and A Life in Dance, 31 March 1985, New York Times Interview
1. 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.
#2 Blood Memory
2. I have heard stories that it was love at first sight for both of us, that we disappeared to a guest room at Merle’s house, had our meals sent up, and didn’t emerge for several days. This is absolutely untrue. I would never behave like that as a guest in someone’s home. Carlos and I went to my beach house.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.
Sayings by Martha Graham
#1-5 I Am A Dancer, 1952
1. I believe that 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.
2. 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.
3. Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to the paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths.
4. 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.
5. 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.
#6-7 I Am A Dancer, 1952
6. 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.
7. 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.
#8 Blood Memory
8. Old age is a pain in the neck. I didn’t want to grow old because I didn’t realize that I was growing old. I feel that it is a burden and a fearful thing and one I have to endure. It is not a thing to be treasured or to be loved. It is by any means a difficulty to bear.
#9 The Life and Work of Martha Graham, 1991, by Agnes de Mille, p. 264
9. There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.
#10-16 Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance, 31 March 1985, The New York Times [S]
10. I love words very much. I’ve always loved to talk, and I’ve always love words—the words that rest in your mouth, what words mean and how you taste them and so on.
11. 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.
12. Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery—what it all means, the way the little bone near the ankle relates itself to the floor for a perfect stance, a perfect plié.
13. To me, the body says what words cannot.
14. Dance is the hidden language of the soul, of the body. And it’s partly the language that we don’t want to show.
15. To me, the only sin is mediocrity.
16. I don’t try to tell the dancers exactly what a dance means before they do it. I can correct it and tell them what they have done after they have done it, and what it means to me. But I don’t say, “Be fearful here,” “Be angry here,” because I think that’s intrusion.
#17-20 Martha Graham, 19 February 1984, by Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times [S]
17. Now it means nothing. Don’t do that turn because you’re told to do it. You should have the feeling of sunlight coming in — that’s the why, the why you make that turn.
18. The absolute thing is the now. Change is the only constant.
19. Death is a part of the cycle of life; it’s like spring, the end of winter.
20. Frankly, it is movement, but I have to have a dramatic line even in the most abstract things I’ve done. It has to come from one person’s experience. I have never been able to divorce the dancing from life.
Unsourced Quotes Attributed to Martha Graham
1. Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.
#2 Attributed to Martha Graham in The Runner’s Book of Daily Inspiration : A Year of Motivation, Revelation, and Instruction (1999) by Kevin Nelson, p. 11
2. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.
3. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.
4. What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.
5. All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.
6. Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.
7. No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time; it is just that others are behind the times.
8. ‘Age’ is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.