Dancer and choreographer best known for her contributions to modern dance. She founded the famed Martha Graham Dance Company and had an acclaimed seven-decade-long career.
She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the first decade of the twentieth century, she began training at the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts.
Her numerous awards include the 1979 Kennedy Center Honor, the 1976 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the 1985 National Medal of Arts. She was the first dancer to perform at the White House.
She was born into a Presbyterian family of Irish descent. Her marriage to fellow dancer Erick Hawkins lasted from 1948 until 1954.
As a choreographer of modern dance, she was likened to modernist artist Pablo Picasso in terms of her tremendous influence upon the development of her art form.