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Elizabeth Aldrich

(b Vienna, Austria, 1891; d Woodland Hills, CA, Oct 3, 1967). American dancer and choreographer of Austrian birth. After early studies at Vienna’s Imperial Ballet School, Rasch immigrated to the United States in 1910 at the invitation of Robert H. Burnside, stage director of New York City’s Hippodrome Theatre, and within a month she was dancing a leading role there. From ...

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(b New York, Oct 18, 1918; d New York, July 29, 1998). American dancer, choreographer, ballet company director, theater director, and producer. He was a creative artist of seemingly inexhaustible resources, moving with ease between the worlds of ballet and Broadway. After studying ballet, modern, Spanish, and Oriental dance, he made his début as a dancer in ...

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J.G. Prod’homme and Marian Smith

(b Paris, Sept 17, 1821; d Paris, Sept 2, 1870). French violinist, dancer, choreographer and composer. His real surname was Michel. He studied ballet with his father, a ballet-master at the royal theatre in Stuttgart, and studied the violin with Paganini and Mayseder. He made his début as a violinist in Stuttgart in ...

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Sarah McCleave

(b 1709 d Paris, July 27, 1756). French dancer and choreographer. New evidence (Rubellin) corrects her date of birth. Her father Etienne Sallé married into the Moylin dynasty of fairground players (to Marie-Alberte Moylin, 11 April 1699), so her early training presumably took place in the inventive atmosphere of the ...

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(d Lisbon, Jan 18, 1775). French choreographer and dancer . His name first appears as ‘Mons. Soutter’, ballet-master for the 1738–9 opera season at the S Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice: his first opera was Rinaldo di Capua’s Farnace. Except for a three-year period in Stuttgart (...

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(b St Petersburg, 20 Feb/March 5, 1910; d St Petersburg, April 1, 1992). Russian dancer and choreographer. See Ballet, §3, (iii).

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Stephen Slawek

(b Udaipur, Dec 8, 1900; d Calcutta, Sept 26, 1977). Indian dancer and choreographer. He was the eldest son of Pandit Shyam Shankar Choudhury and the elder brother of the sitār player and composer Ravi Shankar. He showed a strong interest in the performing and expressive arts during his childhood, performing his own interpretations of the traditional dances of Rajasthan and staging magic shows for his family and friends. In ...

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Norton Owen

(b Kansas City, MO, Oct 21, 1891; d Orlando, FL, Jan 9, 1972). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer and impresario. He is regarded as the father of modern dance in America. While studying to become a minister at age 19, Shawn was paralyzed by a bout of diphtheria, and dance was prescribed as physical therapy. He first trained in ballet and achieved some success presenting exhibition ballroom dances, but his artistic life truly began in ...

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Barbara Palfy

(b Hartford, CT, Feb 9, 1910; d New York, March 29, 2000). American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Born into a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, she followed an older sister to dance classes at New York’s Emanuel Sisterhood Settlement House and ultimately to the Henry Street Playhouse in their Lower East Side neighborhood. There she was taught by Blanche Talmud and met Louis Horst and Martha Graham, with whose company she danced (...

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Maureen Needham

(b Milan, Nov 5, 1777; d Como, Feb 11, 1871). Italian dancer and choreographer. In 1794 he became first dancer at the Teatro dei Nobili, Pisa, where his father Carlo was ballet-master. After touring Italy, 1796–8, he went to Paris to study with J.-F. Coulon, making his début at the Opéra in ...

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Barbara Palfy

(b New York, NY, April 23, 1903; d New York, NY, Aug 4, 1966). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, theater director, and organizer. The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants living frugally on the Lower East Side, she so often danced on the streets that the family enrolled her in the famous children’s dance classes given by Irene Lewisohn and Blanche Talmud at the Henry Street Settlement House. Smitten with dance and showing talent, she did complete high school but when still a teenager auditioned for and was accepted into the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where she was trained in classical technique and appeared for four seasons....

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Claude Conyers

(b Chicago, Dec 14, 1917; d Miami, May 16, 2004). American choreographer. Forced by illness to quit her job as a nightclub dancer, she founded her own troupe, the June Taylor Dancers, in 1942. In a Baltimore nightclub in 1946 she met Jackie Gleason, who would play a central role in her later career. Her troupe made its television début in ...

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Claude Conyers

(b Edgewood, PA, July 29, 1930). American modern dancer, choreographer, and company director. He had his first dance training, did his first dance performance, and choreographed his first dance, Hobo Ballet, at Syracuse University, where he was an art student with a partial scholarship as a swimmer. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City in ...

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( fl 1755–92). French choreographer and dancer . His activities were concentrated in Venice, where he produced ballets for more than three dozen operas between 1755 and 1792. Much of his work was for the Teatro S Moisè during the 1770s and 80s, in operas by Traetta, Guglielmi, Bertoni, Astarita and Anfossi, among others, but he also created ballets for the S Samuele (...

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Sally Banes and Elizabeth Aldrich

(b Portland, IN, July 1, 1941). American choreographer. She was educated at Barnard College (BA in art history) and studied ballet with Richard Thomas and Barbara Fallis, jazz dance with Luigi, and modern dance with Carolyn Brown and Paul Taylor as well as in classes at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. In ...

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Moira Goff

(b c1690; bur. London, Jan 31, 1754). English dancer, dancing-master and choreographer. He is sometimes confused with his father, the actor John Thurmond (d 1727). He was first billed as dancing at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1710, and in ...

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Jennifer Thorp

(b ?1693; d 1758). English dancing-master and choreographer. He was apprenticed to the London dancing-master Thomas Caverley (c1648–1745) from 1707 to about 1714, and he studied theatrical dance with René Cherrier (fl 1699–1708). Between 1708 and 1721 he compiled a manuscript notebook (...

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Claude Conyers

(b Wichita Falls, TX, Feb 28, 1939). American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, and musical theater director. Enrolled in a tap dance class when he was five years old, he showed obvious talent. This led to classes in acrobatics, modern dance, jazz dance, and, finally, ballet, in which he trained for some years with the intention of making it his career. His aspirations diminished, however, as his height increased (he eventually grew to a height of six feet, six and a half inches), and in high school he focused his energies on staging musical comedies. In college, he appeared in numerous student productions as a theater major, earning a bachelor’s degree in ...

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(b St Petersburg, 21 Feb/March 6, 1901; d Moscow, March 23, 1964). Russian choreographer. See Ballet, §3, (iii).

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(b Blessington, Co. Wicklow, June 16, 1898; d London, March 8, 2001). Irish dancer and choreographer. See Ballet, §3, (ii).