I am rereading Martha Graham’s “Blood Memory” – the memoirs of an incredible artist, a pioneer in the world of dance.
I read it only three years ago, yet important pieces of her life dribbled from my recollection.
The first is this: Martha Graham got a late start in the world of dance. She didn’t start dancing until she graduated from high school. She was shunned at first, not seen as a performer. “Good enough for teaching, but didn’t have that essential ‘it’ factor necessary for the stage.”
The second surprise, although it shouldn’t surprise me, given the era she was dancing, was that she danced in Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” when it was still fairly new. She was, in fact, “The Chosen One”… although the choreographer turned his back on her dance, saying she “wasn’t right, wasn’t classically trained...”
In Blood Memory, Martha wrote, “One proper, older woman was sitting next to a man who applauded enthusiastically at the newness of the movement and sound. She turned and hit him on the head with an umbrella. She, like most of
, was completely shocked by the outrage of the music.”
Three years ago I read that and thought, “Interesting” but not enough to make me explore Stravinsky further.