Marissa de Leon and Leah Marie Boehm were dance teachers during the 1930s and 1950s who focused on studying and collecting
information on South American dance. This Collection includes news clippings, notated scores, dance diagrams, brochures, pamphlets,
reports, illustrations, photos, songbooks, notes, and sound recordings focused on dance forms of various Central and South
American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
Marissa de Leon, born in 1911 in Uruguay, was a dance teacher who studied folk dances of South America at the College of Industrial
Arts (now Texas’ Women’s University) before returning to Montevideo to teach folk dance at the YWCA. She was given a scholarship
from the University of California at Berkeley where she participated in ethnic festivals and taught folk dancing. After marrying
Frank de Leon, she was able to open the first Uruguayan school for disabled children, the Franklin Roosevelt School. Leah
Marie Boehm, born in 1911 in San Francisco, was also a dance teacher who studied at San Francisco State University where she
was introduced to folk dance. In the early 1930s she became a member of Mama Gravander’s Folk Dance Group, one of few folk
dancing organizations in the Bay Area. In 1937, she was invited to join the Berkeley Choreography Group, pioneers of the modern
dance movement in the Bay Area. After returning to teach at Everett Junior High School, she created the first modern dance
group in the San Francisco Public School system. Then, at Lowell High School, she ran another modern dance group and encouraged
learning folk dancing through trips to Mexico. In 1946, she and Margaret Poole were granted sabbatical leaves to investigate
art, music, and dance in Latin America where they took eight millimeter color movies of performers, which they used to teach
the students of Lowell High School. In 1986 she was inducted into the Physical Education and Athletic Hall of Fame.
1 Box. 0.5 linear feet.
Reproduction of these materials can occur only if the copying falls within the provisions of the doctrine of fair use. Copyright
varies by item.
Entire Collection is open for research.