We’re expanding our Encyclopedia of Jewish Women and we need your help! Know an extraordinary Jewish woman whose story should be told? Nominate her to be included!
Close [x]

Show [+]

 

You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Deborah Bertonoff

From her debut at age nine through her performances in her late seventies and teaching into her late eighties, Deborah Bertonoff made dance her life’s work. The daughter of Moscow Habimah Theater star Yehoshua and actress Miriam Bertonoff, Deborah Bertonoff began studying at the elite Bolshoi School of Ballet in 1923. The family moved to Israel in 1928 and together joined the Habimah Theater there, becoming pioneers of Israeli dance. In 1929 she began studying modern and Balinese dance in Berlin, paying for her stay by dancing for Albert Einstein and other wealthy Berliners. She also studied in England from 1934–1939 and won first prize at the Paris International Dance Competition in 1936.  Beginning in 1926 Bertonoff began choreographing her own work, incorporating Balinese, African and modern dance with elements like mime, while continuing to perform well-known pieces like “The Beggar’s Dance” from The Dybbuk, a perennial favorite. Although she retired from the stage in 1970 she returned in 1985 with a new version of “Beggar’s Dance” and film roles such as 1992’s Amazing Grace. Along with her dancing and choreography, Bertonoff founded her own dance studio in 1944, training children and professional dancers alike. She was honored in 1991 with the Israel Prize.

More on: Dance, Film, Theater
More on Deborah Bertonoff
0 Comments
Deborah Bertonoff
Full image

Israeli dance pioneer Deborah Bertonoff.

Institution: Dance Library of Israel, Tel Aviv.

Date of Birth
March 12, 1915
Place of Birth
Tiflis

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Deborah Bertonoff." (Viewed on March 24, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/bertonoff-deborah>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs