2:00 pm | (1988) | Dance/Documentary | 2h 27m

Martha Graham: Dance on Film. One of the great artistic forces of the twentieth century, performer, choreographer, and teacher Martha Graham influenced dance worldwide. Criterion presents a sampling of her stunning craft, all collaborations with television arts-programming pioneer Nathan Kroll.

With a career as both a dancer and choreographer spanning over 70 years, Martha Graham was both an important figure and an innovator of contemporary dance in the latter half of the 20th century. Quite an accomplishment for a girl once told that at 5’2″, she was too short and at the age of 22, too old to headline as a principal dancer. Restored to crisp, digital black and white tones, Martha Graham: Dance On Film compiles some of Graham’s most pivotal works and rare performances captured for posterity. A Dancer’s World (1957), narrated by Graham herself, is a glimpse into her class work and methodology. Appalachian Spring (1958) and Night Journey (1961) are two complete Graham ballets, the first a celebration of the American pioneer spirit, scored by Aaron Copland, the second a powerfully physical rendering of the Oedipus myth.

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.”

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”

“Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul’s weather to all who can read it.”
Martha Graham

Martha Graham danced and taught for over seventy years and was the first dancer to peform at the White House. Graham’s style is built heavily around contractions as a way to ease into postures, making them seem even more fluid. This influential aspect of her style made her a much sought-after figure even by Hollywood actors of the ’50s and ’60s, using movement to enhance the spoken word portion of their performances and looking to Graham to train them how to convey the character through their bodies.