Martha Graham and Google doodle

Today, Google’s doodle celebrates the birthday of Martha Graham with an animation by Ryan Woodward.

Born on 11 May 1894 (in Pittsburgh), Graham died on 1 April 1991. She was widely considered the mother of modern dance. She was the first dancer to perform at the White house and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford. Before she married Gerald Ford, Betty Ford (nee Elizabeth Ann Bloomer) had been interested in dance and  studied under Graham and joined Graham’s auxiliary troupe, even performing at Carnegie Hall, despite her mother’s opposition.

In her seventy years as a dancer she formed the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in 1926 in New York City. It is the oldest continually performing dance company in the world.

In 1938, she introduced the first male dancer to her company, Erick Hawkins, who was the male lead in several of her works. They married in 1948, but he left the troupe in 1951 and they divorced in 1954.

In 1965, she established the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel.

Her works and the number of famous students are too numerous to list here.

Unfortunately, Graham resisted recording of her dances so very few videos or films exist.

The animator, Ryan Woodward, has been working in Hollywood for 15 years, beginning as an animator/designer and storyboard artist in 1995. Woodward has worked for Warner Brothers Feature Animation, Sony Pictures, Cartoon Network, Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Entertainment and Dreamworks Pictures on films such as Space Jam,” “The Iron Giant,” “Osmosis Jones,” “Spider-man 2,” “Spider-man 3,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Ironman 2” and “Cowboys and Aliens.”

Woodward has also produced and directed three short films, “The Loch,” “The Turtle and The Shark” and “Aliens” that have played in over 40 film festivals worldwide.   In 2009, Woodward created nine animated sequences that play nightly at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.  Woodward is an assistant professor of the Animation program at Brigham Young University where he teaches storyboarding, figure drawing, visual development and animation.  His latest project, “Conte Animated,” is an exhibition which includes figurative works and animation.  Woodward has a BFA from Brigham Young University and an MFA from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco.


About Jana J. Monji

I've written for the Rafu Shimpo, LA Weekly, LA Times, and, more recently, the Pasadena Weekly and I formerly worked for a dot-com more interested in yodeling than its customers.

Posted on May 11, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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