Martha Graham on Freedom Through Discipline and Conforming

May 14, 2018 by Joshua
in Art, Creativity, Education, Freedom, Leadership

I’ve quoted Martha Graham many times. At last I got the video of her saying the words.

She describes how a performer achieves freedom through conforming and discipline better than anyone, in my opinion. I believe what she says holds for any active, emotional, expressive, social, performance-based field, including leadership and entrepreneurship.Martha Graham

The dancer is realistic. His craft teaches him to be. Either the foot is pointed or it is not. No amount of dreaming will point it for you. This requires discipline, not drill, not something imposed from without, but discipline imposed by you yourself upon yourself.

Your goal is freedom. But freedom may only be achieved through discipline. In the studio you learn to conform, to submit yourself to the demands of your craft, so that you may finally be free.

I remember hearing the quote the first time years ago while watching a documentary of her from a VCR recording. I rewound and replayed it until I copied it, and I’ve returned to it many times since.

At last I got a copy of the segment of the show, A Dancer’s World, that features her saying her words. Now we can hear her words as she said them.

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