Martha Graham, the American dancer, teacher, and choreographer, revolutionized the world of modern dance. She possessed a great gift for revealing emotion through dance, expressing beliefs and telling stories in an utterly new way. Newbery Medalist Russell Freedman documents Martha Graham's life from her birth in 1894 to her final dance performance at the age of seventy-five and continued career as a choreographer until her death in 1991. Graham's own recollections as well as those of her dancers, students, friends, and lovers reveal Graham's unwavering dedication, her extraordinary sense of artistry, and the fierce intensity that left an impression on all who saw her perform. Original research based on interviews and a remarkable collection of photographs not widely reproduced give this biography a rare and unparalleled depth. Includes notes,a bibliography, and an index.
About the Author
Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, the Sibert Medal, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City.
What People are Saying About This
"The subjects of Freedman's photo biographies range from his 1988 Newbery Medal-winning Lincoln and his two Newbery Honor Books, Eleanor Roosevelt (1993) and The Wright Brothers (1991), which was also Booklist's Top of the List for youth nonfiction, to his stirring The Life and Death of Crazy Horse, a 1996 Booklist Editors' Choice. This is his first book about an artist, and, as always, he writes with eloquence and grace about the private person and her revolutionary public role. Martha Graham herself said that her life was her work, as dancer, teacher, and choreographer; and Freedman's focus is on how she created a thrilling new modern dance language that connected movement with emotion, how she made visible "all those feelings that you have inside you that you can't put words to." He connects her artistic breakthroughs with the social and cultural history of her time, the political and artistic rebellion that challenged the role of women and the formality of ballet. In discussing individual dances, he shows how her themes of the outsider and the lonely rebel changed to complex psychological portraits of people like Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson. The electrifying black-and-white photographs are an integral part of every chapter: you read Freedman's lyrical description of a performance and feel you must see a picture of it; turn the page, and there is a photo of Graham in flaming action. Full documentation in chapter notes at the back shows the routes of Freedman's research: books, articles, and tapes that readers can search out, and also his own extensive personal interviews with those who knew and worked with Graham. Another great YA title that will appeal to adults as much as to teens." Booklist, ALA
"Illustrated with stunning black-and-white photographs, this book deserves not only a place in the reading repertoire of those who desire to dance, but in the hands of all young people." NATE-Language Arts
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Russell Freedman did an excellent job researching for this book. Martha Graham was a powerful and influential woman in 20th century American dance. She helped shape and define a groundbreaking new way of dancing that expressed emotion in a way that hadn¿t been done before. For a dancer she started late in life (19 years old) but she continued to perform until she was 75 and the last of the 181 dances she created was made when she was 95! Martha lived to dance and this book gives the reader a sense of the passion and drive that she had when dancing and choreographing. The text moves easily between descriptions of performances, Martha's philosophy and musings and vignettes of her everyday life off the stage. The author interspersed all of it with striking black and white photographs taken in all areas of her life. I loved this book because of my past background as a dancer in a professional company, but I can see that it would appeal to the creative dreamer and artist in any one who reads this. It would be an excellent addition to both Middle and High School libraries.