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a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Martha Graham

Apple Computer featured Martha Graham in its 1997 "Think Different" campaign, with her birdlike hands and arms extended, and one leg pointed under a great fall of skirt. Dancer, choreographer, life force, and diva, Graham was different in every way. No ballerina, she created a new style of movement, based on contraction and release, and pioneered the idea of dance as "emotional activity." Born in California (complete with freckles) in 1894, the grown-up Graham also distinguished herself in terms of her appearance: strong brows, set jaw, red slash of mouth. She wore her black hair in regal piles and had a penchant for scarlet creations by her good friend Halston. Although she retired from dancing in 1968 and died at age 96 in 1991, her legacy endures. Oscar de la Renta has designed new costumes for her 1943 masterwork, Deaths and Entrances, which the Martha Graham Dance Co. will perform during its current season at New York's City Center. What to expect if you go? Something different.

—Laird Borrelli

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