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Amberg, George (28 December 1901–27 July 1971), professor of film and dance critic, was born Hans Aschaffenburg in Halle, Germany, the son of Gustav Aschaffenburg, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist, and Maja Nebel. He was educated in Davos, Switzerland, from 1916 to 1918, at a fashionable boys’ private high school where the kaiser sent his children, and also in Cologne, Munich, and Kiel. In 1923 he founded Cassette, the avant-garde theater in Cologne, and was also a stage director there. From 1924 to 1928 he worked in theatrical festivals with noted German director Gustav Hurtung, first as a dramaturge and play director at the Cologne Theatre, then in 1926 at the Heidelberg Theatre Festival, and thereafter in 1927–1928 as director in the Darmstadt Theatre. Amberg earned his doctorate in December 1930 from the University of Cologne on the German novelist Theodor Fontane as critic. He was also a lecturer and member of the drama department at the university. From 1930 to 1933 Amberg helped to organize the University of Cologne’s theater museum and also established and directed its film library and institute. His published writings from this period concerned the subject of dance. He was a contributing editor on dance to the Ullstein and Herder encyclopedias. Amberg also gave visiting lectures in Berlin, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Basel. He established a cabaret as well, which was usually considered a low-class entertainment venue, but his was experimental theater that included all of the arts....

Article

Denby, Edwin Orr (04 February 1903–12 July 1983), poet, dance critic, and actor, was born in Tientsin, China, the son of Charles Denby, II, an American diplomat, and Martha Orr. Denby lived in Austria and Detroit, Michigan, with his parents before attending Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where he earned distinction as class poet. In 1919 he enrolled at Harvard University but left as a sophomore and went to England for a year. When he returned to the United States, he lived and worked on a farm in New Hampshire for five months, then tried Harvard once more before moving to Greenwich Village. He received no college degree. In 1923 Denby returned to Austria, where he underwent psychoanalysis for depression with Dr. Paul Federn, a colleague of Sigmund Freud’s. With Federn’s encouragement, Denby enrolled in 1925 at the Hellerau-Laxenburg School, where he earned a three-year degree in gymnastics and specialized in ...

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Horst, Louis (12 January 1884–23 January 1964), composer, arranger, dance critic and pedagogue, and publisher, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of German immigrants Conrad Horst, a cornet player, and Corline “Lena” Nickell. Horst’s family traveled to San Francisco, California, in 1893, where Louis studied violin and piano. From about 1900 to 1914 he worked as a pianist in pit orchestras and for silent films. While working at a summer resort he met and subsequently married in 1910 eighteen-year-old Bessie (called Betty) Cunningham. They had no children. In 1911 they went to New York City, where he continued to work as a part-time musician and studied composition and piano, but they returned to San Francisco by 1914....

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Martin, John Joseph (02 June 1893–19 May 1985), dance critic, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of William Joseph Martin, a railroad purchasing agent, and Cara Steinberg, a singer. In childhood, Martin studied violin and piano; he once recalled that he knew the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan before he knew his prayers. He considered becoming a musician but turned to theater, performing in amateur theatrics during high school and college. He studied classics at the University of Louisville and graduated at the age of eighteen. Martin began his professional career in the theater as an actor in the Chicago Little Theater from 1912 to 1915....

Article

Parker, H. T. (29 April 1867–30 March 1934), dance, music, and theater critic, was born Henry Taylor Parker in Boston, the son of William Fisk Parker and Susan Sophia Taylor Parker, whose occupations are unknown. He entered Harvard University in 1886 but apparently left in 1889 without graduating. He was immediately attracted to the writing of criticism and acquired the dual position of New York correspondent of the ...

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Elizabeth Zoe Vicary

Terry, Walter (14 May 1913–04 October 1982), dance critic, was born Walter Matthews Terry, Jr., in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Walter Matthews Terry, Sr., and Frances Lindsay Gray. Terry attended elementary school at the private home of a Mrs. Fancher and later at the local public elementary school, both in New Canaan, Connecticut. Interested in the performing arts at a young age, Terry organized performances of plays with neighborhood children. At age nine he wrote his first drama, “The Death of Atahualpa,” the story of the last of the Incas, which he had been told by his grandmother. After graduating from New Canaan High School in 1931, Terry attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His tuition was paid by the Congregational Church of New Canaan and by a Masonic scholarship. At the university Terry took dance classes and was a member of the student dance company, studying under Phoebe Barr, a former member of the Denishawn Dancers. He graduated with an A.B. in 1935, majoring in drama and minoring in music....