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Posted at 03:16 AM ET, 05/11/2011

GOOGLE DOODLE: Today’s animation celebrates dance pioneer Martha Graham

The line. The leap. The leg kick. It is arguably the most elegant Google Doodle yet.

The folks at Google celebrate what would have been pioneering dancer/choreographer Martha Graham’s 117th birthday with a beguiling short animation by “motionographer” Ryan Woodward .

(UPDATE: To chat live with today's Google Doodle animator Ryan Woodward, you can click this link. The Post chat will begin today at noon ET.)

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul,” said the mother of modern dance, who died in 1991 in New York, at age 96.

Graham invented her own language of movement that revolutionized dance. Her honors over a legendary career included the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1976), and she was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 1987. Her Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest dance company in the United States.

“Graham was far from the first dancer to rip off her toe shoes and break with the rigid conventions of 19th century ballet. ... ,” said Terry Teachout, writing for Time magazine in 1998. “But it was her homegrown technique — the fierce pelvic contractions, the rugged ‘floor work’ that startled those who took for granted that real dancers soared through the air — that caught on, becoming the cornerstone of postwar modern dance.

Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris — all are Graham’s children and grandchildren.”

Woodward, the animator, caught Comic Riffs’s eye last December with his fluidly beautiful animation “Thought of You.”

“It was really great to work with Dancers and Choreographers from the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York on this,” Woodward, the Utah-based animator and storyboard artist, wrote of the creation of this Google Doodle.

Woodward — an animation professor at Brigham Young University — has worked on two of the “Spider-Man” feature films and has worked for director Jon Favreau on both “Iron Man 2” and the upcoming “Cowboys & Aliens.” His latest project is as a storyboard artist on 2012’s “Snow White and the Hunstman,” featuring “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth and the Oscar-winning Charlize Theron.

Early Wednesday (ET), Woodward tweeted: “The Google.com Doodle traffic just crashed both my websites.”

MORE: THE LIST: Comic Riffs’ Fave Five “Google Doodle” Animated Logos ever

(NOTE: For Post dance coverage, just click this link.)

By  |  03:16 AM ET, 05/11/2011

 
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