In Onstage with Martha Graham, Stuart Hodes—a dancer, choreographer, and instructor—describes his experiences dancing with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1946 to 1958. His memoir is a rare firsthand view of the dance world in the 1940s and through the end of the twentieth century.  

We asked Stuart Hodes a few questions about his new memoir. For more information about the book, click here.

When did you know you wanted to write this book?  What was the path that led you to this project?

Much of the book had already been written.  But only after I was called from Paris by Robert Gottlieb, who indicated that it was publishable, did I seek publishing.

How did your experience as a World War II bomber pilot impact your dance career?

I’d loved flying, being high in the air, experiencing the world from this new place. Dancing offered that too, and you didn’t need an airplane.

Image of Stuart Hodes. Stearman PT-13 “Primary” trainer. U.S. Army photo.

What was one of the most rewarding experiences you had dancing with modern dance icon Martha Graham?

Being around this unpredictable, brilliant, always surprising person.

What is a common misconception that most people have about modern dance?

That it is abstract and intellectual, when it is in fact intuitive and powerfully emotional.

In your view, what is the most important legacy of Martha Graham in the dance world today?

That there is always something new to be discovered.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started your journey in modern dance?

Don’t fight against the need to dance. Dancing makes no sense, so just get on with it.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That the life of a dancer is full of adventure and humor.

Is there a question you wish we would have asked you? If so, what is it?

Were you as good a dancer as you wanted to be? The answer is NO! I wanted to be the best dancer in the world. Didn’t make it.

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