Monday, October 19, 2009

"Dance to the Piper"

Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American dancer and choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, whose influence on dance can be compared to the influence Stravinsky had on music, Picasso had on the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

This is a passage from Martha to Agnes B de Mille (18 September 1905 – 7 October 1993), an American dancer and choreographer, sharing her insights on unique individual creativity of an artist.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

"As for you Agnes, you have a peculiar and unusual gift and you have so far used about one third of your talent."

"But when I see my work, I take for granted what other people value in it. I only see it's ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied."

"No artist is pleased"

"But then is there no satisfaction?"

"No satisfaction whatever at any time!" she cried passionately. "There is only a quiet divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

How do you feel about this?

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