Google Celebrates Martha Graham With Dancing Doodle

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Twenty-one years after her death, Google is celebrating the 117th birthday of Martha Graham with an animated doodle that sits at the top of its homepage. The logo begins with a cartoon version of Graham crouched at the right side of the screen and continues as she spells out E-L-G-O-O-G (the name of the search giant in reverse) by leaping and spinning to the viewer's left. (See the complete animation embedded below.)

Born in 1894, Graham is remembered as a pioneer of contemporary dance. She is memorialized not just in Google Doodles but in the Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest dance company anywhere in America, and its headquarters in New York City. The company, which continues to perform, was founded in 1926 by Graham herself.

This slick animation -- it has been called "the most elegant Google Doodle yet" -- was created by Utah-based storyboard artist and animator Ryan Woodward. "It was really great to work with Dancers and Choreographer from the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York on this," Woodward wrote of his creation, according to the Washington Post. Woodward, who has worked on both Iron Man 2 and Spider-Man, generated so much interest with his latest project that his personal pages collapsed when too many people tried to access them. "The Google.com Doodle traffic just crashed both my websites," he tweeted.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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