Sorel, Ruth Elly Abramovitsch (1907–1974) By Templeton, Melissa
Upon immigrating to Montreal in 1944, Ruth Abramovitsch (also known as Abramowitz) Sorel was one of the first dancers to regularly teach and perform modern dance in Canada. Informed by her experience performing with Mary Wigman in Dresden, Sorel introduced Montreal dancers and audiences to Ausdruckstanz, the German expressionist dance style. Her company, variously billed as “Ruth Sorel Montreal Ballet” or “Ruth Sorel Modern Dance Group,” performed dramatic psychological narratives set to a classically informed movement vocabulary. She received national recognition when her company performed at the Canadian Ballet Festivals in 1949 and 1950. Sorel’s legacy can be seen in the many dance careers she helped launch, including Yoné Kvietys (1924–2011) and Birouté Nagys (1920--), who jointly founded the Montreal Modern Dance Company in 1952. However, Sorel’s influence on the Montreal dance community gradually began to fade in the 1950s. Sorel left Montreal to return to Poland in 1957 where she remained until her death in 1974.