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Dollar, William (20 April 1907–28 February 1986), dancer, choreographer, and teacher, was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, the son of Edward Dollar, a Hungarian grocer, and Catherine Hoffman. Because his mother was opposed to dance he did not inform her when, in his senior year of high school, he began taking classes in “acrobatic adages” with a local teacher, a Miss Clark, who did not charge him. There he was seen by Bob Alton, who immediately billed him and his partner into the vaudeville shows that were given between films at the Missouri Theatre. Alton’s wife then sent Dollar to New York to see Mikhail Mordkin, the Russian dancer and teacher, who got him a scholarship at the Murray Anderson school, where Mordkin taught. In 1930 Dollar went with the Mordkin company to Philadelphia, where that same year ...

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Duncan, Irma (26 February 1897–20 September 1977), dancer and teacher of dance, was born in Schleswig-Holstein, near Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of Ernst August Grimme, a food retailer, and Christiane (maiden name unknown). Christiane Grimme had seven-year-old Irma audition for the dancer Isadora Duncan...

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Graham, Martha (11 May 1894–01 April 1991), dancer, choreographer, and teacher, was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, the daughter of George Greenfield Graham, a physician who specialized in mental disorders, and Jane (Jennie) Beers. Her father was of Irish descent and her mother proudly claimed to be a descendant of ...

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Ito, Michio (13 April 1892–06 November 1961), choreographer, performer, and teacher, was born in Tokyo, the son of Tamekichi Ito, an architect, friend of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the first Japanese to graduate from the University of California, and Kimiye Iijima, the daughter of a zoologist. As a youth in Japan Michio had a close association with Noh, the traditional, stylized lyric drama of Japan, and also received training in the popular theatrical form, kabuki. In 1911 he traveled to Paris and Berlin where he saw ...

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Le Clercq, Tanaquil (02 October 1929–31 December 2000), ballerina, teacher, author, and photographer, was born in Paris, France, the daughter of Edith Whittemore Le Clercq, a socialite from St. Louis, Missouri, and the American writer Jacques Georges Clemenceau Le Clercq, a poet and a prolific translator, principally from the French. Le Clercq's father named her after “Paul Tanaquil”—his own occasional pseudonym, which referred to the Etruscan queen and prophetess of ancient Rome. From Le Clercq's childhood on, however, she was known as “Tanny” to family and friends....

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St. Denis, Ruth (20 January 1879–21 July 1968), dancer, choreographer, and teacher, was born Ruth Dennis in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Thomas Laban Dennis and Ruth Emma Hullo. Her mother, the second woman to receive a medical diploma from the University of Michigan Medical School, was an advocate of dress reform. Her father was a machinist by trade and an inventor by inclination. The pair had met at Eagleswood, a colony near Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where artists and freethinkers congregated. Their “marriage” was a matter of agreement, solemnized in a ceremony with neither clergyman nor justice of the peace officiating....

Article

Weidman, Charles Edward, Jr. (22 July 1901–15 July 1975), dancer, choreographer, and teacher, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Charles Edward Weidman, a fire chief, and Vesta Hoffman, a Midwest roller skating champion. During the building of the Panama Canal, Weidman’s father served as head of the fire departments in the canal zone, so Weidman spent some of his youth in Panama. As a teenager he studied dance in Lincoln with Eleanor Frampton, performing in state pageants and in the chorus of local opera productions. Interested in ancient civilizations, archaeology, and history, he was enthralled by the Egyptian, Grecian, and East Indian dances performed by the Denishawn company on a visit to Lincoln in 1916. He determined then that dancing with this company was what he wanted to do....