“It begins with breath”

“Sometimes when I am in the studio today I think of the moment of movement; what the dancers are doing today, what I was doing then. I see what the body does when it breathes. When it breathes in, it is a release and when it breathes out, it is a contraction. You breathe in and you breathe out, in and out. It’s the physical use of the body in action.

(Barry Goyette, “Modern Dancers,” Creative Commons)

My technique is based on breathing. I have based everything that I have done on the pulsation of life, which is, to me, the pulsation of breath. Every time you breathe life in or expel it, it is a release or a contraction. It is that basic to the body. You are born with these two movements and you keep both until you die. But you begin to use them consciously so that they are beneficial to the dance dramatically. You must animate that energy within yourself. Energy is the thing that sustains the world and the universe. It animates the world and everything in it. I recognized early in my life that there was this kind of energy, some animating spark, or whatever you choose to call it. It can be Buddha, it can be anything, it can be everything. It begins with breath. I am sure that levitation is possible. I am not speaking mystically, I am speaking practically. I am sure that I could walk in the air, but my heart is not trained to stand the urgency of that flight, the movement that comes up through and rests against the heart.

Martha Graham, Blood Memory: An Autobiography (1991) p46

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