Miss Ruth in the Valley 3

Ruth St. Denis, featured in a newspaper story on elderly fitness, strikes a Denishawn pose for a photographer. Verso text: “Pictured are Frankie Van, owner of Frankie Van’s Health Club, 3717 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, along with famous modern dancer Ruth St. Denis. Ms. Denis once lived in the Valley and operated a school ...

Denishawn could not hold her down, Louise Brooks

Dance · Film
Actress/dancer/flapper-provocateuse Louise Brooks made her Denishawn company debut in 1922, when the company had already relocated from Los Angeles to New York. Brooks was shown the door by company matriarch Ruth St. Denis and after playing dozens of bit parts in Hollywood movies, hit it big as bad-woman “Lulu” in G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box in ...

Miss Ruth strikes a Denishawn pose in “The Peacock” (1914)

Dance · Visual arts
A photographer’s dream model, the exotic Ruth St. Denis habitually struck a dramatic pose for the camera. Fifty years later, in the San Fernando Valley, she was doing the same thing. Ruth St. Denis, “The Peacock” 1914, photo by J.D. Toloff, Evanston, IL

This was Denishawn

We’re looking forward to spending an evening  — picnic and free music concert — at outdoor-amphitheater Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park on June 12. Does everyone know the rich dance history of that neighborhood, whose prior name “Westlake” derived from the beautiful urban lake that the park surrounds? Read this, first, from the ...

Mitchell Leisen’s first design project? A costume for Martha Graham!

Dance · Film
Los Angeles has long been an arts beehive, dating back to the 1910s when modern-dance goddess Martha Graham and film director Mitchell Leisen converged here. We enjoyed receiving this amazing Los Angeles dance-film anecdote from Norton Owen, a friend of arts·meme and the Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Writes Norton: I am ...

Jack Cole to be celebrated at Jacob’s Pillow 2

Dance · Film
arts·meme‘s Debra Levine is proud to announce her participation, on Saturday, August 14, at 4 pm, in “Jack Cole, Unsung Genius” a celebration of the innovative jazz choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the summer dance camp for grown ups in Becket, Massachusetts. The Cole commemoration fits surprisingly well with Jacob’s Pillow history. In his ...

Jane Sherman remembers Martha Graham

Dance · Film
In a prior post, we noted the passing of Jane Sherman, the last living Denishawn dancer. In an arts•meme exclusive, our friend Hugh Neely of Timeline Films of Culver City, California, provides us with footage of Jane reminiscing about fellow Denishawn alumni Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey.      Graham danced with Denishawn from 1921- ...

Denishawn’s last living dancer leaves us 3

Norton Owen, Director of Preservation of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, dispatched the following message: “Although I don’t believe you had the privilege of meeting her, I wanted to pass along the poignant news that the youngest and last of the Denishawn dancers, Jane Sherman (1908-2010), passed away last night at the age of 101.” The ...