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Martha Graham: 117th birthday celebrated with dancing Google doodle

Martha Graham, a dancer, choreographer, and icon of Modern Dance, gets a Google celebration on what would have been her 117th birthday.

By / May 11, 2011

Modern dance icon Martha Graham receives a 117th Birthday salute through a today's Google Doodle.

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Google unveiled a dancing doodle today to celebrate the dancer and choreographer Martha Graham.

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The dancer in the animation uses her body – in five different dance movements – to spell out the search engine's name. The doodle is the creation of artist Ryan Woodward, who wrote on Twitter this morning, "Check out Google.com. I worked with the Martha Graham Dance Company [the oldest American dance company] and created an animated Google Doodle. Hope you guys like it!" Indeed, the extra web attention crashed both of Woodward's own websites.

Martha Graham worked as an American dancer and choreographer from the 1920s up until her passing in 1991.

The Martha Graham Dance Company, launched in 1926, broke down the meaning of the individual dances portrayed in the doodle, on its website. The dancer begins with Graham's signature solo 1930 piece "Lamentation" forming the letter "e." Then sweeps into an "l" with "Satyric Festival Song" from 1932. She falls to the ground, with "Appalachian Spring" from 1944, and swishes up with a kick to form the "g." Then with a jump forms the "oo" like in "Contraction" from 1947, and finishes with "Frontier" from 1935 to form the "G."

Graham once said, "I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It's permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable."

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