Martha Graham is what we today would call an outlier. Martha set a revolution. Graham in how she revolutionized dance was compared to how Picasso revolutionized the world of art. In the 1800’s dance was pretty simple. It was mainly centered around Ballet. Ballet is like Mexican food actually. It’s essentially all the same thing, done a 100 different ways! Martha Graham has been side to be the one that brought dance into the twentieth century. Graham was 68 when she started her own company! Martha danced and choreographed for over 70 years. Martha taught some of the other most influential people in the dance world. This including, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, and worked with some of the best composers of her day.
Martha Graham fits the mold that Malcom Gladwell has created. Martha’s dad was wealthy, he had the money to send her to a prestigious dance school for the first 45 years of her life. Her parents raised her in concerted cultivation, pushing her to be the best she could be (making her possibly even crazy). Graham was able to get the training she needed to be amazing at what she does, she had a accumulative advantage of good training, leading here to be successful. To be successful Graham had to surpass Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” theory. Now, I can not email Martha Graham since she has passed away, but I believe she passed that 10,000 hr. mark with flying colors. Matha was in the performing arts field for over 70 years! Dancing in a professional company with previous training and then going on to own her own company, there is NO way that Martha Graham did not dance over 10,000 hours! Martha Graham also had a great deal of practical intelligence. She was able to convince people that she was right, what she was doing was possible, and everyone should do it too. Just to show how successful Martha was, she and her company was the first to even perform at the White House for the president.Fifty years into Martha’s career is when she stepped out of the boundary. Martha arranged her first piece to kick off the start of her company. The piece was completely out there and weirdly……. extraordinary. I watched it myself. Im telling you it was weird! But, there was something about the performance, that made you watch, that made you interested. It was amazing in a freaky way. Many people criticized her piece, calling her insane, mentally unstable, crazy. These people were right. Choreographing a masterpiece, and revolutionizing ANYTHING, takes being crazy! Being able to think outside of the box takes being insane. I will have you know that Martha Graham has won many awards, created a new style of dance, and even had a documentary made all about her. Its like the quote, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”- Friedrich Nietzsche