Martha Graham founded her dance company and school in Manhattan in 1926. Graham's style is based on studying the body's movement, focusing on contraction and release. The style of Martha Graham is often seen as angular, direct, and sharp. Many modern choreographers came out of the Martha Graham company including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. Her company also focused on modern as well as ballet dancers. Guests artists would come and dance in Graham's ballets, such as Margot Fonteyn and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Awards and Honors Martha Graham received multiple awards such as the Laurel Leaf of the American Composers Alliance in 1959 for her service in the area of music. She was also voted to receive the 1986 Local One Centennial Award for Dance, by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One. In 1976, Martha Graham alwso received the highest civilian honor, the Megal of Freedom, and was declared a "national treasure" by President Ford. She also received the National Medal of Arts award from President Regan in 1985.