56). Graham was instantly transformed. For Graham, every movement that St. Denis made had an almost religious significance. She felt that through her experience of the dancer's powerful art she had somehow been initiated into the mystic rites of the Orient (Stodelle, 1984, p. 11). Graham realized at that moment that she was going to be a dancer. When she returned to high school, she dropped all of her extra activities to join dance and drama classes. Her
St. Denis' influence increased when, in 1915, Graham joined the Denishawn school in Los Angeles. Owned and operated by St. Denis and her husband, Ted Shawn, the school's curriculum was devoted entirely to dance and related subjects like drama and composition. Graham's first months at the school showed little promise. Compared to her classmates, she was poorly prepared to become a dancer. Her training, so far, had consisted of the dance classes she had attended at her high school and at Cumnock Junior College. Furthermore, her training had begun fairly late. Most dancers begin their studies between the ages of 8 and 12. Graham had not realized her desire to become a dancer until she was 17, and although her conviction was certainly powerful, she had only four years of experience when she began to study with St. Denis and Shawn.
Graham was always a headstrong young woman, however, and she compensated for her lack of preparation by practicing relentlessly. She would often sneak into the studio in the late evenings in order to work on her lessons. Since this was strictly forbidden, Graham would avoid detection by practicing in the darkness of the unlit studio. By the end of the summer, her talent had developed remarkably.
To remain profitable, the Denishawn school found it necessary to stage performances. When one of the dancers scheduled to perform the "Seranata Morisca" fell ill, Shawn remarked that it was unfortunate that Graham, who had been studying the sam...
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