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Fuller, Loie (1862–1928)

Loie Fuller was a founding figure of modern dance. After an early career in American vaudeville, she moved to Paris where she created a new…

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Walker, Aida Overton (1880–1914)

Aida Overton Walker (born Ada Wilmore Overton) was one of the first female African-American stars of vaudeville, and perhaps the first to be recognized as…

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Ragtime Dancing

Ragtime dancing is a social dance practice, performed to ragtime music, that began in the 1890s and gained widespread popularity in US dance halls until…

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Hoffman, Gertrude (1886–1966)

Gertrude Hoffman (Hoffmann) was an early twentieth-century Broadway dance director and performer, and the first woman to receive a dance direction—or choreographic—credit on Broadway. From…

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Lawson, John Howard (1894–1977)

John Howard Lawson was born in New York City on September 25, 1894. His first major play, Roger Bloomer (1923), advanced expressionism in the United…

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Asakusa Opera

Asakusa Opera is a form of modern Japanese popular entertainment which combines elements of musical theater, namely opera, operetta, US musicals, and sketch comedy such…

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Wayburn, Ned (1874–1942)

Ned Wayburn was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 30 March 1874, and raised in Chicago. He studied at the Hart Conway Chicago School of Elocution while…

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Precision Dancing

Precision dancing epitomizes industrial production lines in the modernist era. The genre previewed the precision and formalism that is more associated with graphics and decorative…

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Federal Theatre Project (1935–9)

The Federal Theatre Project was a government-subsidized program established in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide jobs for theater artists during the Great…

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Chaplin, Charlie (1889–1977)

Charles Spenser Chaplin was born in London on April 16, 1889, and died on Christmas Day, 1977, at home in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. He had been…

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McCay, Winsor (c.1867–1934)

Winsor McCay (born Zenas Winsor McKay) was an American graphic artist and animator, best known for his Art Nouveau-inflected landmark comic strips Little Nemo in…

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Denishawn (1915–1931)

Denishawn, a for-profit enterprise combining a school and dance company, was founded in Los Angeles in 1915 by the internationally acclaimed solo performer Ruth St.…

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Huston, John (1906–1987)

John Huston was an American actor, director, and screenwriter, who became one of the world’s most influential filmmakers. Born in Missouri to Rhea Huston, a…

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Whitman Sisters

Mabel (1880–1942), Essie (1882–1963), Alberta (1888–1964) and Alice (1900–1969) were the daughters of Albery Allson Whitman, a reverend in the African Methodist Episcopal church (and…

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Ziegfeld Follies (1907–1931)

Named after its founder, Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld (1867–1932), and inspired by the Folies Bergères in Paris, the Ziegfeld Follies (1907–1931) remains one of the…

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Dance Directors

The term Dance Director was used in the first three decades of the twentieth century for stage and film work. At first, it simply meant…

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Soganoya, Gorō (1877–1948)

Soganoya, Gorō was a Japanese actor, director and playwright who created of a new genre of modern comedy called kigeki (also shinkigeki). He wrote around…

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Shimmy

The shimmy, also known as the shim-me-sha-wabble, is a jazz dance that features the upper body, especially the shoulders, shaking and quivering horizontally from side…

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Gerrard, Saida (1913–2005)

Toronto-born Saida Gerrard was one of the first artists to import modern dance to Canada following study in the United States. Her early training included…

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Harlem Nightclubs

In the 1920s and 1930s, Harlem became a major hub of New York City nightlife and a prolific space for African American artistic creation. It…

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Fosse, Bob (1927–1987)

Bob Fosse greatly influenced commercial screen dance and musical theatre stages in the latter part of the 20th century as a choreographer and director in…

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Dance Marathons

In a modernizing society undergoing rapidly increasing mechanization, industrialization, urbanization, commercialism, and consumerism, the dance marathons of the 1920s and 1930s reflected social developments of…

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Pavlova, Anna (1881-1931)

Considered the most expressively gifted ballerina of her generation, Russian dancer Anna Pavlova introduced ballet to a world audience through 23 years of nearly constant…

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Black Bottom

The Black Bottom dance began as an early twentieth-century African American social dance in the Southern United States. It later entered the American mainstream via…