martha graham

i have a piece of framed newspaper on my wall.  i was given this piece of newspaper in 1986-- the year the newspaper was published.  the original was actually an ad for some bank or something.  i cut that part off long, long ago.  the part i keep has a photo of the great modern dance pioneer, martha graham, dancing in 1945-- and then the following quote:

'i am a dancer.  i believe that we learn by practice.  whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.  in each, it is the performance of the dedicated, precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one being, a satisfaction of spirit. one becomes, in some area, an athlete of god.

'when i first wrote those lines some forty years ago, i little thought i would be looking back on what is now a 60 year history for my dance company.  i no longer dance.  but as i choreograph and rehearse my company, i still believe in that perfection which fights against, what is for me, the only sin-- mediocrity.' 

we don't always know what each day's practice of life and art will bring-- we cannot always see into the future and know what our actions today are going to mean for tomorrow.  but we can, each day, have a sense of achievement-- a satisfaction of spirit-- that comes from that daily practice and repetition.

as another famous martha would say.... 'a good thing.'


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