Miss Ruth in the Valley 4

Miss-Ruth-2
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 in the Cahuenga Pass. Photograph dated January 31, 1962.”

Below, Miss Ruth and Frankie Van.

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 in the Cahuenga Pass. Photograph dated January 31, 1962.

Photo source: Los Angeles Public Library collections

4 thoughts on “Miss Ruth in the Valley

  1. Don Hewitt Jan 8,2019 5:06 pm

    Serendipity: I studied with the Oumansky’s, Alex and Peggy (former Ballet Russe performers in Portland when I was 14 yrs. old. A beautiful modern studio. They were Valentina’s parents. Later in the 50’s I saw Ms. Ruth at Jacobs Pillow dance “White Jade”. She was elderly, but still effective. Sometime later in Los Angeles, Irwin Parnes presented her in her final performance. She appeared at the top of a large cone shaped ramp. She was swathed in fabric that she swirled open at the appropriate moment. All of the dancers (including myself) turned up towards her as if watching the sun coming out. Very dramatic and very memorable to me and others. Much later I discovered some of her costumes at UCLA and put them in a display about Southern California Dance History at the Pilot Theatre in LA. The costumes included her famous “nautch skirt” and an exquisite kimono. Much of the work on these garments was hand done.

  2. Tarumi Takagi-Inouye Jul 30,2015 7:45 pm

    Julie!
    What a fun story! I have such fond memories of you being in my mom’s company!
    Now the Studio Theatre at St. Denis Building is an Historic cultural monument of Los Angeles! We have a monthly poetry event called Second Sunday Poetry Series & sometimes screen VODDF dramatic dance videos & Valentina makes her appearance just like Ms. Ruth once did…but without the cat!

  3. debra levine Jul 28,2015 9:37 pm

    That little memoir is so beautifully written, Julie. Thank you for sharing it. Debra L.

  4. Julie McDonald Jul 28,2015 2:03 pm

    I love this so much! I met her..She lived in the back of Valentina Oumansky’s Dramatic Dance Ensemble which was also located on the Cahuenga Pass. I was in Valentina’s company and we practically lived there, taking class and rehearsing till our feet bled. One day Miss Ruth came into the studio to watch us rehearse. She seemed 6ft tall, wearing all black, and with her snow white hair she was an imposing figure. I was so young and she was so old…I was in awe!

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