My work in relationship to my spiritual mother Martha Graham

Martha Graham was my spiritual mother. She was the spiritual mother of the beginning of professional dance in Israel. She taught me dances that she had created originally for herself out of herself. Roles like Ariadna in “Errand into the Maze” and” “Herodiade”. Martha worked with me intimately for a long time in New York prior to the establishment of the Batsheva Dance Company and in Israel after the Company was formally established. She transferred her personal world and professional work to me. She worked with me also on “Medea”, “Night Journey”, “Helen of Troy”, “Lilith” and others creations.

Martha came to Israel three times a year for a long period of time. In her role as Artistic Advisor for the Company, she auditioned and chose Israeli choreographers, dancers, composers, costume and set designers.

Martha Graham presented new ideas to humanity. She formed a new and different multimedia theatre. She created a psychological language that was a combination of Greek and Japanese theatre. She believed that dance is a religion and saw the dancer as “God’s acrobat”.

She created mythological women, strong and passionate creatures that were bigger than life.

 Her dance technique was unique. She took off her shoes, fell on the floor, contracted and released, inhaled and exhaled. She believed that the human body is our house and placed the center of movement in the body and not in the limbs (arms and legs). Her body contracted and released emotions out of human tragedies and joys.

Grahams’ dances are a journey to the soul, scrutinizing the human soul and its expressions.

She created a new form of expression and changed the way we look at our world. She created a dictionary of movement and choreographed over 180 dances that became world classics.

In 1979, after dancing as a leading dancer and choreographer in Batsheva Dance Company around the world for almost 20 years (with some of the world’s renown choreographers), I left the Company in order to establish my own dance theatre. I detached myself completely from Graham’s world and chose another path. I got rid of stories in my work, no more heroines bigger than life in my dances, no more big sets, no more heavy make-up. I left behind most of Graham’s technique, and eroticism was not the main issue in my work anymore.

 My technique:

 –           I established a new technique that combines classical and modern dance, Yoga, Feldenkrais and contact improvisation.

–           I discovered improvisation, which became an integral part of my technique creation process.

–           I built my dance with an attitude of free association.

–           I explored geometry; looking for a clean line, which exists in a triangle, a square, a circle, a cross, etc.

–           I choreographed to my body’s music, not to a ready-made music and only when the dance was ready, music was written to it.

–           We went out doors to perform in non-conventional places, such as streets, mountains, sea-side, museums, etc.

–           I studied Oscar Schlemer’s work and found inspiration in his research.

–           I worked with words, poetry, videos.

–           I used the Chance Method which was developed by John Cage and Merce Cunningham.

–           My main work was concentrated on objects. Working with them gave me a lot of inspiration and helped me in finding my own way in dance.

After 15 years of a completely detachment from Martha Graham, I looked at my dances and discovered her in my work. I saw her blood running in my veins and heard her voice in my dances.

–           My work is always an inner research, a journey into the unknown.

–           My work is a ritual.

–           There is always emotion and drama in my creations.

–           My face is always full of expression.

–           Even the objects are a continuation and extension of Graham’s work.

Quotations by Martha Graham:

 –           “Ambition is not enough, necessity is everything.”

–           “The movement never lies, the movement is a barometer that describes the climate of the soul.”

–           “The essence of dance is human expression, dance is the landscape of the human soul.”

–           “You did not choose dance, dance chose you.”

–           If you have the interest, the dream and the necessity, you will find your way.”

 I found my way. I am glad that I had the chance to work with Martha Graham and to continue her path.