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Holt, Claire (23 August 1901–29 May 1970), Indonesian specialist and journalist, was born Claire Bagg in Riga, Latvia, the daughter of Boris Bagg, a successful leather dealer and manufacturer, and Cecile Hodes. In 1914 the family moved to Moscow, where Claire attended Gymnasiums from 1914 to 1918. In 1920 she married Bernard Hopfenberg, and in 1921 the couple emigrated to the United States. They settled in New York, and Claire gave birth to a son in 1927. Her husband died in 1928....

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Kirstein, Lincoln (04 May 1907–05 January 1996), ballet director, dance historian, and arts activist, was born Lincoln Edward Kirstein in Rochester, New York, the son of Louis E. Kirstein, a businessman, and Rose Stein Kirstein. In 1911 his family moved to Boston where his father became an executive of the upscale Filene's department stores. Kirstein grew up in a world of beautiful visual expression: finely crafted public sculpture, home furnishings, paintings, objets d'art, architecture, and clothing. He attended Boston public schools until the ninth grade, then studied briefly at Exeter, and finished high school at the Berkshire School for Boys. He studied drawing, piano, and dance. Although he never particularly excelled in academics, he demonstrated a deep desire to learn and absorb information....

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La Meri (13 May 1898–07 January 1988), dance artist and educator, was born Russell Meriwether Hughes in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Russell Meriwether Hughes, a businessman, and Lily Allen. Russell Hughes and her sister Lilian became acquainted with a broad spectrum of the arts as they were growing up. After the family’s move to San Antonio, Texas, around 1902, the girls received public school or private lessons in music, dramatic art, painting, and dance, and from then until Lilian’s death in 1965, they often collaborated in performance and teaching. Before she was twenty Russell was active on a number of fronts in San Antonio. In addition to playing violin in the local symphony orchestra and publishing her first two collections of poems, she sang, danced, acted, wrote plays and songs (both lyrics and music), and painted. Between 1921 and 1938 four more collections of her poems were issued by publishing houses in Boston, Philadelphia, and Italy....

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Luahine, Iolani (31 January 1915–10 December 1978), kuma hula (hula master teacher), dancer, and chanter, kuma hula (hula master teacher), dancer, and chanter, was born Harriet Lanihau Makekau at Napoopoo near Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii (meaning the Big Island), the daughter of Manasseh Makekau and Koolani (maiden name unknown). In the traditional belief that the exchange of children strengthened ...

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Moore, Lillian (20 September 1911–28 July 1967), dancer, teacher, and dance historian, was born in Chase City, Virginia, the daughter of William Cabler Moore and Margaret Watkins Goode. She began studying dance at the age of twelve at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, where she remained as a student until 1928. She then moved to New York and continued her studies with prominent teachers at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School and the School of American Ballet....

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Primus, Pearl (29 November 1919–29 October 1994), dance pioneer, anthropologist, and choreographer, was born in Trinidad, the daughter of Edward Primus and Emily Jackson, and migrated with her family to New York City when she was two years old. She majored in biology and pre-medicine at Hunter College of the City University of New York and graduated in 1940. Seeking support for graduate studies, she solicited help from the National Youth Administration (NYA). Under the auspices of the NYA she was enrolled in a dance group, subsequently auditioned for the New Dance Group in New York, and earned a scholarship with that institution....

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Pearl Primus. Lithograph on paper, c. 1969, by Marion Greenwood. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Robert Plate.

Article

Selden, Elizabeth S. (1888–at least the early 1960s), dancer and writer, was born in Europe. There is no information about her parents or the exact location of her birth. Very little is known about Selden’s life. She reportedly received her dance training in Germany and Switzerland from such notable European dance artists as Mary Wigman, Rudolf von Laban, and the Wiesenthal sisters. Before 1930 she immigrated to the United States and at some point became an American citizen. She was living in Connecticut in 1930 and in California later in the 1930s, and apparently gave dance concerts in both New York and California. In 1932 she spent time in Europe updating her knowledge of the modern dance scene there. Selden attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1935 and a master’s in German in 1936. Her M.A. thesis was on late Romantic era German interest in Chinese culture. She may have begun work on a doctoral degree because from 1942 to 1944 she taught Spanish as a teaching assistant at UC Berkeley. She began writing at least as early as 1926 and published two books on dance, ...