The collection documents the career of Carla DeSola and sacred dance: performances, writings, photographs, videos and teaching.
She has been a leader and innovator in the sacred dance community since the Sixties.
Carla DeSola (1937 - ) is a leader in sacred dance in the United States. She founded successful sacred dance companies in
New York City and the Bay Area. In the Bay Area, she has taught at Pacific School of Religion (PSR), part of the offerings
by the Center for Art, Religion and Education (CARE). In 2008, she was declared a “Living Legacy” during the Sacred Dance
Guild Golden Anniversary Festival.
DeSola grew up in New York City in a non-religious Jewish family. She attended City College of New York and received a diploma
in 1960 from Juilliard School of Music, Department of Dance, where Jose Limon was her major teacher. She continued her study
of dance under Valerie Bettis (1919-1982). In 1992, DeSola received her MA from Pacific School of Religion.
During the Sixties, she became interested in Catholicism, attending services in Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker Community. She
performed her first sacred dance during a worship service there. In 1974 she founded the Omega Liturgical Dance Company,
which became based at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Upon her move to Berkeley, California, in the 1990s,
she founded Omega West Dance Company.
In 1980, she married Arthur Eaton (1917-2008), a native of the Bay Area and a social worker and psychotherapist. He filmed
and videotaped many of the dances in the collection.
Since 2014, Sister Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D., Professor of Religious Studies at the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio,
Texas, has been working on a biography of DeSola. While the biography is still in process, she has promoted DeSola’s influence
on sacred dance in modern times through posting biographical materials and sacred dance performances online.
A grant from the Center for Art, Religion and Education supported the processing of the collection and the digitization of
over 100 VHS tapes.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological Union
as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.