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Dance

Sydney Taylor

Sydney Taylor created a fictional family of such endearing character and loving spirit that her young readers clamored for more titles. The values of family love, charity, wisdom, compassion, and social justice that define Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family owe their particular flavor to Jewish culture.

Helen Tamiris

Helen Tamiris was a pioneer of American modern dance. She brought a social consciousness to the concert hall and went on to become the director of the Dance Project for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and later an acclaimed Broadway choreographer.

Estelle Joan Sommers

Sommers made her career in retail dancewear as a designer, business executive, and owner of various ventures. Since taking ballet and tap classes as a child, dance had been her passion, professionally and socially.

Anna Sokolow

Anna Sokolow is a dancer and choreographer whose hundreds of dance works, plays, operas and festivals have reflected the social, political and human conflicts of her time.

Margalit Oved

Margalit Oved—dancer, choreographer, singer, actress, musician—is the epitome of a performance artist. She has left an indelible mark on twentieth-century Jewish culture through her inventive and modern interpretations of ancient biblical tales.

Sophie Maslow

Born in New York – 1911, Sophie Maslow was one of those modern dance pioneers who “could march from the Workers’ Bookstore to the Martha Graham Studio in no time at all, a fact that made it possible to fight the spiritual wars of revolutionary politics and modern dance almost simultaneously” (Graff).

Melissa Hayden

Melissa Hayden was born Mildred Herman, April 23, 1923, in Toronto, Canada. Neither of her parents, Kate Weinberg and Jacob Herman, who had immigrated from the region surrounding Kiev in Russia, had any artistic talents. Her father operated a successful wholesale fruit and vegetable business. Her sister Leola was eight years her senior; her sister Annette was three years younger. Hayden started her ballet training fairly late, at age fifteen, with Boris Volkoff, an influential Toronto teacher. After five years of study with Volkoff, for which, when she was out of high school, she paid by working as a bookkeeper, she decided it was necessary to continue her training in New York.

Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, on November 21, 1945, to Laura (Stienhoff) Hawn, a dance school owner and jewelry wholesaler, and Edward Rutledge Hawn, a professional musician. Hawn was raised Jewish although, she notes, “not in a strictly religious atmosphere,” and describes a happy home life. She began dancing at age three, and danced in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s Nutcracker chorus at age ten. Hawn recalls being asked to dance on point for a friend’s bar mitzva. The music started, and she slipped and fell—twice. Succeeding on her third attempt, “I realized I was probably the little girl who was going to make it.”

Anna Halprin

Anna Halprin is one of the founders of the American avant-garde in modern dance. Beginning with her work in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she radically expanded the ideas of what could constitute a dance, what kind of personal material was permissible as content in a dance work, and how to give voice to forgotten segments of the population—people of color, the aged, the terminally ill.

Elsa Zylberstein

Appearing in more than three films a year, Zylberstein is certainly one of the most sought-after young French actors. Throughout, Elsa Zylberstein has also enjoyed a successful career in the theater, appearing in plays by Pirandello and Anouilh as well as in adaptations of successful American playwrights.

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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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