Last month, I posted a video of Martha Graham’s Lamentation (See Between Red & Blue). Today, Google is commemorating her birthday with a fantastic Google doodle and animation by Ryan Woodward. Check it out and enjoy!
Martha Graham’s choreography embodied by a Google doodle
By Ben Quinn at The Guardian
Martha Graham, the American dancer and choreographer whose name became synonymous with ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ dance, is celebrated in Google’s latest doodle today, marking her 117th birthday.
In an eleborate piece of animation, the doodle is based on a dancer who performs a series of striking, Grahamesque routines to spell out the six letters of the search engine’s name.
Graham, whose influence on modern dance has been likened to the legacy of Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright in their own spheres, passed away at her home in Manhattan in 1991 at the age of 96.
However, she had sealed her place long before then in the pantheon of great artistic revolutionaries of the 20th century, having been credited with developing a new and codified dance language that smashed the traditional mold and established itself as a lasting alternative to the older ballet tradition.
According to Time magazine: “Her fierce choreography sometimes amazed and sometimes horrified, but in it she embodied modern dance — arrogantly and spectacularly.”
Initially acclaimed as a great dancer in her own right, the Pittsburgh-born daughter of a Victorian-era mental health physician, she contined to perform late on in to her life and left the stage at the age of 75 when she gave her final performance in 1969.
Graham choreographed more than 180 works, looking on enviously later in life at young dancers performing in her signature style, based upon contraction and release of the body.
Her legacy lives on in the techniques used by dance companies around the globe, including the Martha Graham Dance Company, which has continued to develop contemporary dance since its founding in 1926, often rooting works in contemporary social and political contexts.