Guy, Edna (1907–1983) By Paris, Carl
Edna Guy was a major figure in establishing African-American modern dance in the 1930s. Grounded in the technique of her mentor Ruth St. Denis, Guy was at the forefront of a movement that attempted to realise the ideals of the Harlem Renaissance in dance. Along with Hemsley Winfield, Alison Burroughs, and Charles Williams, she sought to elevate the image of Black people through their art. Particularly significant is her organization of the First Negro Dance Recital in America (1931) with Hemsley Winfield and the Negro Dance Evening (1937) with Alison Burroughs. Guy’s legacy is marked by her determination to, as she put it, ‘do beautiful’ as a Black woman,1 and create a space for Black representation within the modernist project.