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date: 20 November 2019

Horton, Lesterlocked

  • Claude Conyers

Extract

(b Indianapolis, Jan 23, 1906; d Los Angeles, Nov 2, 1953). American choreographer, teacher, and dance company director. Having studied various forms of dance, including ballet, Denishawn techniques, and Native American dance forms, he moved to Los Angeles in 1929 and pursued his training with Michio Ito, an influential Japanese teacher of modern dance. Soon Horton had developed his own style of teaching and in 1932 founded a performing group with a repertory of dances with such exotic titles as Voodoo Ceremonial and Allegro Barbaro. From the mid-1930s until the outbreak of World War II, the Lester Horton Dancers presented appreciative audiences with performances of daringly erotic dance (e.g., Salome), Native American pageants (e.g., Mound Builders), social and political statements (e.g., Ku Klux Klan), and an occasional satirical piece (e.g., Flight from Reality). With such a variety of dance styles and forms, he was recognized as the leading practitioner of modern dance on the West Coast. To create jobs for his students, Horton produced Afro-Cuban and Latin nightclub shows and worked on Hollywood films, creating dances for twenty-one movies between ...

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