American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham was a revolutionary artistof modern dance in the early 20th century. Born in Allegheny, a suburb ofPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 1894, her family moved to California whenshe was 10. She was inspired at that early age to become a dancer when shesaw Ruth St. Denis perform her exotic "Epytia" modern dance in 1914. Aftermuch study, Graham brought a different dynamics and interpretation to moderndance, one of sharp angles and natural motion. Graham's father was an"alienist," a term used at the turn of the century describe a physician whospecialized in human psychology. Dr. Graham was interested in the way peopleused their bodies, and that interest was passed on to his eldest daughter.Martha frequently repeated her father's maxim of "Movement never lies." Herabstract approach to dance and her minimal use of costumes and setdecorations was disconcerting to audiences accustomed to the lovely fluidmovements of modern dance introduced earlier by the likes of Isadora Duncan(many critics accused Graham of making dance "ugly"). What Graham wanted toevoke with her style of dance was a heightened awareness of life. Sheeventually developed a strong following and won over the critics. Her dancethemes were inspired by America's past, biblical stories, historicalfigures, classical mythology, primitive rituals, and surprisingly,psychoanalyst Carl Jung's writings, Emily Dickinson's poems, GeorgiaO'Keeffe's paintings, and Zen Buddhism. She danced with such a passion thather presence on stage was electrifying. Graham founded the Dance RepertoryTheater in New York in 1930. She was the first dancer to receive aGuggenheim fellowship in 1932. From 1931 to 1935, Graham toured the UnitedStates in the production "Electra." She was fascinated by differentcultures, and her interest in Native Americans of the southwest UnitedStates was first embodied in the production "Primitive Mysteries." In 1937,she danced for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House. Hermost famous dance, "Appalachian Spring," was first performed in 1944. Grahamgave her last stage performance in 1968, at age 74. In all, she produced 181original ballets. A year before her death in 1990, she choreographed, at age95, Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag"; the show featured costumes by CalvinKlein.Date of Death:1 April 1991, New York, New York, USA.