• Martha_graham_feature_large

    The release of Pina, Wim Wenders’s magical documentary tribute to the choreographer Pina Bausch, has put us in mind of the pioneering work of Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance. For a splendid sample of Graham’s legendary work, check out Criterion’s release Martha Graham: Dance on Film, comprising a series of television shows from the late 1950s created by Nathan Kroll, a musician turned film and TV producer who was devoted to bringing the performing arts to the masses. In two ballets—Appalachian Spring, filmed in 1958, and Night Journey, filmed in 1961—we see the beauty and mystery of Graham’s choreography, and in A Dancer’s World, filmed in 1957, Graham addresses the camera, filling us in on her methodology as well as her philosophy on dance and movement. These are all elegantly composed, artful films in their own right. They are also invaluable documents of the work of one of the most important artists of the last century. Graham herself is one of the chief pleasures on offer here—her flinty yet fabulous personality is on full display in A Dancer’s World. In the clip below, watch Graham get into costume while expounding on the mysteries of the human body, and stick around for some beautiful moves by members of her company.


  • By Kyle Edward Harris
    January 28, 2013
    04:42 PM

    This has been on my wish list for...too long. Pina being all over the front of Criterion and now this reminder is just the thing I needed to push this film from "wish" to "own." The body is such a glorious thing and Graham understands the utter beauty of it.
  • By CL78
    January 28, 2013
    11:43 PM

    Wow. I absolutely need this. And my ballet-loving daughter will study this to no end.
  • By B. Price
    January 31, 2013
    09:06 PM

    A true artist and still an inspiration....
  • By Klaus Rudolf Ehrhardt
    May 25, 2014
    06:49 PM

    The great art distinguishes itself from the lesser by its integrity. Altought not ease to tell sometimes, at others, even a child may.