How a Dancer Raised to Believe Dance was a Sin Revolutionized the Artform

Every field has its revolutionaries – dance is no different. 

Martha Graham, along with Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm, has been recognized a one of the 'big four' founders of American modern dance. For 70 years she dedicated her life to the art form, first as a performer and later as a choreographer. She ran a dance company and received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and National Medal of Arts. In 2015, Graham was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.


Life threw her a curve ball early on: Graham was born into a religious family where dance was viewed as a sin – but she still found her way to it when she attended the performance of famous dancer Ruth Saint Denis. It was a day that changed her life. Since then Graham aspired to be a dancer. In 1913, she was allowed to enroll in the Cumnock School of Expression, an experimental college in Los Angeles. In following years, she studied at the Denishawn School; that was founded by Ruth Saint Denis and Ted Shawn.

At the beginning of the 20th century, dance belonged to entertainment; it was part of vaudevilles, fancy shows, and balls. Only a ballet had the status of high art. Graham did not want to be seen as a cabaret girl – she was an artist.

Gender stereotypes of the time implied that men were cerebral, and women were emotional. Therefore, in dance, men express themselves by inching and straight movements, while women swayed in a smooth motion, following curved trajectories. Graham broke this delineation, and stated that she did "not want to be a tree, a flower or a wave." In her dance, she withdrew from the standard view of femininity. She made her characters impersonal, strong, and even masculine. The movements based on the opposition between contraction and release were coined 'Graham technique', and now that technique is taught worldwide.

See the full collection of Martha Graham images on Picryl, the largest public domain search engine.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

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  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
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Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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