Google pays homage to modern-dance legend Martha Graham


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The late Martha Graham, one of the preeminent pioneers of modern dance, received a birthday animation tribute Wednesday from Google on the occasion of her 117th birthday. Born in 1894 in Pittsburgh, the American dancer and choreographer introduced a severe but also sensual modernism to the field of dance. The Martha Graham Dance Company, founded in 1926, continues to tour internationally.

How do you decipher Google’s dancing hieroglyphs? On its website, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance offers a breakdown of each letter. The ‘G’ comes from the 1935 solo piece ‘Frontier’; the ‘oo’ is a signature Graham contraction move from ‘Daughters of the Night,’ from the chorus of ‘Night Journey,’ which premiered in 1947; the ‘g’ is from the 1944 piece ‘Appalachian Spring’; the ‘l’ is from ‘Satyric Festival Song’ from 1932; and the ‘e’ is from ‘Lamentation,’ arguably one of Graham’s most famous works.


Google’s animation was created by Ryan Woodward. The Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance said on its website that Woodward was inspired by Blakeley White-McGuire, a principal dancer with Graham’s company.

In February, the Martha Graham Dance Company performed in Southern California at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. Dancers performed ‘Appalachian Spring,’ a collaboration between Graham and artist Isamu Noguchi.


Dance review: Martha Graham Dance Company at South Coast Repertory

The Martha Graham-Isamu Noguchi collaboration

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-- David Ng

Photo credit (top): Google

Photo (bottom): Members of the Martha Graham Dance Company perform in Costa Mesa. Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times