Access to the full text of the entire article is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


Spencer, Penelope (1901–1993) By Robinson, Anne

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM742-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 02 June 2023, from


The career of the English “creative” dancer, choreographer, teacher, and dance writer Penelope Spencer spanned the period between the World Wars. Spencer’s versatile training and career encompassed diverse British theater genres, including ballet, drama, mime, modern dance, musical comedy, opera, pantomime, and revue. She practiced consecutively as a freelance artist and under the auspices of enlightened cultural institutions, including the Arts Theatre Club, British Broadcasting Corporation, British National Opera Company, Camargo Society, Glastonbury Festival, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and Royal College of Music. Her published articles explored the relationship between dance and music, the importance of dance to actors and musicians, and dance as a collaborative art form, promoting the Wagnerian concept of Gesamtkunstwerk. During the interwar period, Spencer made significant and pioneering contributions to British theater dance and wider cultural heritage, while incorporating progressive philosophies into her choreography and teaching.

content locked



Article DOI



Related Searches

Citing this article:

Robinson, Anne. "Spencer, Penelope (1901–1993)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 2 Jun. 2023 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM742-1

Copyright © 2016-2023 Routledge.