Last week I had the most wonderful opportunity to attend a Martha Graham Dance Company production. I have heard Martha Graham's name bandied about over the years, but had never seen the dancers or learned much about Martha Graham. While billed as a modern dance company, the troupe is extremely fluid and the dancing dynamic (not jerky and stilted as I had expectd). There is almost a story with each movement. I learned more about Martha Graham too, because this production was documentary, using film and voice, as well as performance based. Martha Graham is quite simply the founder of modern dance. I am sure that I was not the only one in the audience thinking that the late, great Michael Jackson most certainly must have spent time studying her patterns of movement and putting his own spin on them.
Her contemporary, Coco Channel is another female great. She can be credited with such inventions as the business suit for women, the popularity of pearls, and the little black dress. Like Martha, Coco Channel took the road less travelled for women of her time and forever changed the fashion industry and the way that women dress. Over the years, I have often heard comments to the effect of "women don't invent anything," they do, you just have to look and pay attention. The next time that you see a dancer use a contract and expand movement or glance at a woman dressed gracefully in a black dress and pearls, think of the mothers of invention.