Dudley, Jane (1912–2001) By Phillips Geduld, Victoria
Jane Dudley, a key figure in the radical dance movement of the 1930s, was a choreographer who developed her own distinctive voice within the modern dance idiom and an educator who trained numerous dancers both in the United States and in England. An early member of the New Dance Group (NDG), she oversaw the creation of group works such as Strike (1934), while choreographing solos such as Time is Money (1934), in which she used the modern dance idiom to embody a worker’s oppression on the assembly line. A striking performer, Dudley joined the Martha Graham Company in the mid-1930s. At the same time, she continued to develop her own repertoire, in part through the Dudley–Maslow–Bales Trio, whose founders—Sophie Maslow, William Bales, and herself—remained committed to the social ideals of the 1930s long after they had abandoned the making of overtly political works. Dudley’s loyalty to NDG extended over several decades during which it became a major New York training venue, offering inexpensive classes and professional training to promising students, including many African Americans. From 1970 to 2000, Dudley directed the London School of Contemporary Dance, transforming it into one of Europe’s leading modern dance institutions.