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Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn papers
MS 069  
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Ruth St. Denis was one of the first internationally known modern dancers, and was famous for her cultural dance performances. Ted Shawn was a male pioneer for American modern dance, and was St. Denis' dance partner for a large part of their careers. This collection contains correspondence, business and personal documents, publications, and photographs regarding the personal and professional lives of St. Denis and Shawn. Also included are biographical manuscripts of Ruth St. Denis, agendas written by Ted Shawn, and material regarding the Denishawn Dance School, the Society of Spiritual Arts, and many of their dance productions and programs.
Ruth St. Denis was born January 27th, 1879, in Newark, New Jersey. One of the first internationally known modern dancers, Ruth St. Denis was first inspired by modern dance when she saw the Egyptian goddess Isis on a cigarette poster in 1904. She met Ted Shawn in 1911 at a performance, and they soon became artistic partners and spouses afterward. Together, they created the Denishawn School of Modern Dance in Los Angeles, California, in 1914. Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis separated in 1930, but remained good friends. The Denishawn School was also disbanded in 1930. In 1931, St. Denis formed the Society of Spiritual Arts to spread religious worship and mysticism through dance. Ruth St. Denis later also founded the Church of Divine Dance in Hollywood, California, where masses and rituals relating dance to religion took place. She remained active in the dance and religious spheres until her death at the age of 89. Ruth St. Denis passed away July 21st, 1968, in Hollywood, California.
4.52 linear feet (8 boxes, 4 flat file folders)
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This collection is open for research.