Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember that this is where the wings grow.

dancers

I work. That's what I call what I do when I make dances.

Graham spent her very long life studying movement and challenging accepted ideas about what dance is and what a dancer can do. She looked upon dance as an exploration, a celebration of life, a religious calling that required absolute devotion. She called her dancers “acrobats of God” and told them, “Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember that this is where the wings grow.

One of the great American artists of the twentieth century, she was an electrifying performer and a deeply influential choreographer (the person who creates steps, movements, and patterns of dances.) “I don’t call myself a choreographer, because that’s a big, wonderful word that can cover up a lot of sins,” she said. “I work. That’s what I call what I do when I make dances.”

by Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991)
from Martha Graham: A Dancer’s Life (1998)
author – Russell Freedman
Chapter One
image – sico_activa

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2 Responses to “Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember that this is where the wings grow.”

  1. clarissa mcfairy Says:

    “Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember that this is where the wings grow.“ Wow, what a mantra to live by. Thank you, Elizabeth

  2. E. A. Able Says:

    I’ve read that she was an inspired taskmaster.