One would have thought the 1960s an ideal (perhaps the ideal) time for a first encounter with the primitive mysteries of Martha Graham. The cultural signposts all seemed to point in her direction: a renewal of interest in myth and ritual; the meteoric rise of “Dionysian” intellectuals such as Norman O. Brown; the pervasive body-consciousness; a sexualizing of the culture at large. Why then, on first encountering Graham’s choreography, during the summer of 1967 (the notorious Summer of Love, no less), did I find her work rather…unlovable? Why did I behave so inappropriately, biting my tongue in a vain attempt to stifle a bad case of the giggles? No doubt, the narrow (some might say, ideological) confines of my sensibility were at fault. I was a precocious 17-year-old, eager to appear More-Sophisticated-Than-Thou. It was essential to my fragile, stillevolving sensibility that my enthusiasms all be certifiably modern. But Graham’s work seemed most distinctive for its atavism, its willed primitivism. Hers were dances that harked back to the primordial ooze. Thus, it wasn’t altogether apparent to me why modern dance was called modern dance.