Katya Delakova was a pioneer of Jewish dance, blending folk traditions, Hasidic worship, modern dance, and improvisation. Delakova trained in ballet and interpretive dance and performed with the renowned Gertrud Kraus before marrying stage director Ferdo Delak, with whom she opened a dance school in Yugoslavia, in 1931. She divorced Delak in 1938 and immigrated to America, where she married fellow dancer Fred Berk in 1946. The couple performed Jewish, folk, and modern dances together at venues ranging from nightclubs to Carnegie Hall. In 1943 they formed the Jewish Dance Guild, teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and in 1948 they toured the displaced persons camps of Europe as well as the newly formed State of Israel. In 1951, Delakova divorced and moved to Israel, where she studied Eastern movement principles. She returned to the US in 1958 to teach “the Art of Moving,” which incorporated tai chi, dance techniques, and improvisation using Jewish sources as prompts. From 1966–1975 she taught this method at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as at her own studio and in Europe during her summer breaks. In 1977 she moved to Titusville, New York, where she continued to teach students at her private studio.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Katya Delakova." (Viewed on July 6, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/delakova-katya>.