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Elizabeth Aldrich

(b Hoosick Falls, NY, Sept 25, 1905; d Arlington, VA, June 9, 1977). American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. After ballet studies in New York City, Hoctor made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Jerome Kern’s musical Sally in 1920. In 1922 she joined the Keith-Orpheum Circuit as a solo ballet dancer. The next year she appeared in Vivian and Rosetta Duncan’s (known as the Duncan Sisters) ...

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Claude Conyers

(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 ...

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Barbara Palfy

(b Oak Park, IL, Oct 17, 1895; d New York, Dec 29, 1958). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and pioneer in modern dance. Descendents of Pilgrim stock in New England, her well-educated parents moved to the Midwest for better income, first to Chicago and then the suburb of Oak Park. Trained first by the highly regarded dance educator of the time, Mary Wood Hinman, and various itinerant ballet instructors, Humphrey showed early talent and, finishing high school, launched into a cross-country performing tour; there being little other work in dance for a proper young woman, she taught dance classes at home for children and adults, and for actors at a summer theater camp in New England, where she first encountered the music of Edward MacDowell. World War I preserved this status quo until she was finally able to break away in ...

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Jennifer Thorp

(fl London, 1673–1718; d ?January 1721). English dancing-master and choreographer. Little is known about his life; he may have been related to an earlier dancing-master in Paris, also named Isaac, he was one of a large group of recusant dancing-masters active in London from the 1670s onwards, and he was also closely related to a family of dancing-masters named Thorpe. In ...

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(b St Petersburg, 18 Feb/March 2, 1834; d St Petersburg, 11/Dec 24, 1901). Russian choreographer. See Ballet, §2, (iv).

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Claude Conyers

(b Philadelphia, PA, May 10, 1943). American modern dancer, choreographer, and company director. She studied with Marion Cuyjet and at the Philadelphia Dance Academy. There, Agnes de Mille saw her in a class and invited her to dance in her ballet The Four Marys...

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(b Seattle, WA, Dec 24, 1930; d New York, March 25, 1988). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet company director. After early studies in ballet, he presented his first choreography in his native Seattle in 1948. He continued training in New York at the School of American Ballet, and studied modern dance with May O’Donnell and Gertrude Shurr. He performed with Roland Petit’s Ballets de Paris and O’Donnell’s modern dance company. In ...

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Claude Conyers

(b Bunnell, FL, Feb 15, 1952). American dancer, choreographer, designer, author, and company director. He did not begin his dance training until his freshman year in college, at the State University of New York at Binghamton. There he met Arnie Zane (1948–88...

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(b Wasseralfingen, Jan 12, 1901; d Heilbronn, May 22, 1979). German dancer and choreographer. See Ballet, §4.

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Todd Decker

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 23, 1912; d Beverly Hills, CA, Feb 2, 1996). American dancer, actor, choreographer, and film director. Kelly started out in Pittsburgh, running a family-owned dance studio and performing regionally. Turning down an opportunity to join the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo touring company, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in ...

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Claude Conyers

(b New York, Aug 12, 1915; d Los Angeles, Dec 23, 2007). American dancer and choreographer for stage and film. After winning a scholarship to the School of American Ballet in 1937, he decided to pursue a career in dance. He danced on Broadway and with several ballet companies before joining Ballet Theatre in ...

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Carol G. Marsh

(b Paris, ?1667; d Paris, ?after 1756). French dancing-master and choreographer. In 1698, about ten years after he began dancing at the Paris Opéra, he was brought to London by Thomas Betterton to perform at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. He performed and was active as choreographer at various London theatres until at least ...

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Wolfgang Bender

(b Oshogbo, Dec 18, 1931; d Ibadan, March 11, 1978). Nigerian playwright . Ladipo was an internationally famous author of Yoruba popular plays. For the Duro Ladipo Theatre Group he served as director, actor, composer, choreographer and manager. He was the grandson of a drummer and the son of an Anglican catechist. He was a member of his school's choir from the age of nine, and wrote his first play while still in school. At the same time he began composing and adapting European hymns to the tonality of the Yoruba language. The performance of his ...

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Sibylle Dahms

(b Lyons, Sept 1732; d Berlin, Jan 5, 1820). French dancer, choreographer and teacher. He was an influential figure in the history of the ballet en action. A pupil of his father, Laurentius (1713–83), an actor and dancer at the Mannheim Hoftheater, he probably studied in Paris, and then worked as a dancing master and ballet dancer at the Mannheim court (...

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Maureen Needham Costonis

(b Paris, 1725; d 1777). French choreographer and dancer . He was the son of Antoine Bandieri de Laval (b Paris, 1688; d Paris, 20 Oct 1767), who had been a noted exponent of the danse sérieuse and had choreographed many revivals of operas by Campra and others. Michel-Jean joined the ...

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(b St Petersburg, 6/June 18, 1905; d Paris, Nov 26, 1967). Russian choreographer. See Ballet, §3, (iii).

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Paul R. Laird

(b Brooklyn, NY, May 3, 1931; d Key West, FL, May 5, 1994). American dancer, choreographer, and director. Layton joined the dancing chorus of Oklahoma! in 1947, followed by appearances as a dancer in such shows as High Button Shoes (1947), ...

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(b Naples, 1744; d St Petersburg, 1806). French choreographer and dancer. As a youth he was influenced by the Noverrian form of ballet en action. His initial contract as figurant at Stuttgart from February 1760, shortly before Noverre’s arrival, was extended in 1761...

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Claude Conyers

(b New York, June 19, 1915; d Las Vegas, April 26, 2007). American tap dance teacher and choreographer. Born and raised in Harlem by West Indian parents, he and his siblings were musically inclined. He studied the violin and learned to tap dance as a boy, although it is uncertain whether he ever took formal dance lessons or whether he ever had aspirations as a performer. At seventeen he opened his first studio and began to teach. Eventually he worked with a host of entertainment personalities and became known as “the choreographer to the stars.” His career extended well over sixty years....

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Kelley Rourke

(b New York, NY, June 15, 1932). American director and choreographer. She began her career as a dancer and choreographer for shows on Broadway, the West End, and various opera companies. Luchino Visconti, for whom she choreographed La Traviata, encouraged her to pursue a career directing opera. She has a strong affinity for new music, particularly works of a political nature. At Netherlands Opera in ...