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Dance

Miri Shalem of Beit Shemesh and dance as a tool of social change

Before most of us ever heard of the small town of Beit Shemesh, Miri Shalem the orthodox mother of four children and a long-time resident was directing the town’s JCC.

Anna Halprin and "Breath Made Visible"

I've never thought of myself as a particularly good dancer. I dropped out of ballet after one lesson and these days I only feel comfortable on the dance floor after a couple of drinks.

Women who frame our world

Who are the women who frame our world? A small gathering of about 100 women met in San Francisco last week to hear from an array of leaders in the creative arts.

Ilona Copen, 1940 - 2010

Co-founder and director of the New York International Ballet Competition, Ilona Copen died in February. Through her passion for educating young dancers and the advancement of the arts, she left an indelible imprint on the dance world.

Miriam Friedlander, 1914 - 2009

My mother's parents emigrated around 1900 from the Jewish Pale of what is now Belarus and settled in Pittsburgh, PA. Her father David Sigel (Sigelovytch) was an office worker, insurance salesman, and political activist in the immigrant foreign language clubs. Her mother Hannah Lipman (Goldotsky) was fluent in Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. She was active in the clubs and worked as a secretary and translator.

In 1919, the family moved to New York where mom graduated from Evander Childs High School in 1931 and New York University College of Education in 1935.

Pearl Lang, 1922 - 2009

I was fortunate to see Pearl Lang dance in her signature piece, “Shirah” (or “Song”), in the late 1960s at Hunter College, which was known then as the place to go for modern dance performances. A famous dance series, “Angry Artists Against Viet Nam,” presented at Hunter in ’67, included Twyla Tharp, Eleo Pomare and others. Lang had her own evening, steering clear of politics.

Sophie Maslow, 1911 - 2006

Sophie Maslow was my father's first cousin; she was born and lived all her life in New York City. I had never heard of Sophie Maslow until I met her when I was almost fourteen. The meeting was only by chance. In 1964, my parents had invited my seven year old cousin, Tobias Baskin, to accompany our family on a visit to the New York World's Fair. We lived in Hamilton, Ontario, where my father was the Reform Rabbi between 1949 and 1988. Tobias was the son of the artist and sculptor, Leonard Baskin, my father's brother, who lived in Northampton, MA.

Selma Jeanne Cohen, 1920 - 2005

Despite the difficulty of translating the evanescent nature of dance into words, Selma Jeanne Cohen believed that dance, as much as painting, music and literature, deserved a history of its own. She spent a lifetime creating the structures necessary to making the recording of that history possible.

100 years: Happy Birthday Anna Sokolow!

Modern dance pioneer Anna Sokolow was born 100 years ago today in Hartford, Connecticut. Anna Sokolow was a Woman of Valor. She was a radical artist who used dance to explore social and political issues, challenege audiences, and make a statement.

Anna Sokolow

Anna Sokolow was a dancer and choreographer of uncompromising integrity. Believing strongly that dance could be more than mere entertainment, she explored the most pressing issues of her day—from the Great Depression, to the Holocaust, to the alienated youth of the 1960s—and challenged her audiences to think deeply about themselves and their society.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Dance." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/dance>.

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