September 13, 2013

John D'Agata and Martha Graham

Yesterday, I read this exquisite essay written by John D'Agata, one of my newest language heroes, and it's called Martha Graham Audio Description Of. It's hard to say what it's about, so go search for it and read it. I'm sure you'll find it enlightening.

Anyway, I got to thinking a lot about Martha Graham. I knew who she was before I read the essay, but I'd forgotten how influential she was to pioneering a new art form in the world. I have been so hung up on everything contemporary dance today because I've somehow forgotten how much I love to experience it. I'm grateful for the way it makes me feel something, you know? We all have our outlets. Mine is writing my thoughts down to try and figure out how to live. Yours might be the same. Or maybe it's running marathons or cooking with colors. Maybe you live for your English garden.

Growing up, I always tried to be a dancer. I'd ask to be put into dance classes and I'd learn how to count in my head and follow a beat, but the passion was never there. I've never been very disciplined. Any time there was a dance teacher breathing down my neck, telling me to work harder, I wanted out. And I got out every time and I regret that now. Not that I could've been some great dancer, but who's to say I wouldn't have been?

The way a dancer is able to express their soul through the movement of their body, taking the heart from their chest, somehow able to put those pieces into me... It's putting delicacy to a routine, making an emotion tangible, mixing grace with physiology... I mean, it's just so damn beautiful!

And so, here are these two videos to ensure that you have a beautiful weekend. And while this first video is beautiful, it doesn't do her justice, so go here and watch the entire thing. Listen to the part at the end about spontaneity and training. It's gorgeous.


  1. oh the life of a dancer, i once wanted that life. it's dancers and choreography like that, that make me want it again. i stopped watching this season of sytycd (mostly trying to prepare for a tv-less life as a missionary) but i feel like i really missed out. everyone keeps posting videos and talking about how good it was.

  2. I wanted to be a dancer too. I was an Irish dancer for 6 years and MAN did I love it. We had a man from Lord of the Dance come and teach our class and it was amazing to see his passion for dance. I'm sad that I've stopped dancing as I've gotten older. Sometimes the feeling to dance just wells up in your body and you gotta shake your tail in your bedroom at three in the morning.

    Tightrope to the Sun

  3. The way you use curse words is something I appreciate.

    And thank you for sharing. Dance is such an interesting medium. But so expressive. You heart gets going just from bodies moving around. What is that?


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