A New Martha Graham Biography Is a Study in Grace and Balance.

Early Life and Influences

Martha Graham, born in 1894 in Pennsylvania, hailed from a diverse heritage. Her father, George Graham, practiced an early form of psychiatry, while her mother, Jane Beers, claimed descent from Myles Standish.

Denishawn Years

Starting her career at Denishawn in 1916, Graham found inspiration in Ruth St. Denis’s mysticism and became a star with the success of the Aztec ballet, Xochitl. Despite later rebelling against Denishawn’s eclecticism, its influence lingered in her works.

Birth DateMay 11, 1894
Birth PlaceAllegheny City, Pennsylvania
ParentsGeorge Graham (Irish descent, “alienist” practitioner), Jane Beers (Irish, Scots-Irish, English ancestry)
Professional CareerBegan at Denishawn in 1916, founded Martha Graham Dance Company in 1926
Notable AchievementsWhite House performance, Presidential Medal of Freedom, 180+ dance works
LegacyMartha Graham Dance Company, Graham technique worldwide, awards and honors
Passing AwayApril 1, 1991, in New York City at age 96

Graham Technique and Dance Legacy

In 1926, Graham founded her dance company, introducing the revolutionary Graham technique. Over 50 years, she created 180 works, reshaping American dance with intense emotional expression.

Global Recognition and Achievements

Graham broke barriers, performing at the White House, acting as a cultural ambassador, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Honors ranged from the Key to the City of Paris to Japan’s Imperial Order of the Precious Crown.

Legacy and Passing

Martha Graham passed away in 1991, leaving a lasting legacy. Her dance company continues to influence dancers globally, and her contributions to modern dance remain unparalleled.


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