In this exposition of The Sacred Dance , Miss Ruth s deep insights come alive in movement, the body, and in visions of physical expression in sacred time and form which transform our lives and the world we share. Her beautifully evocative poetry, inspiring journal writings, and thoughts on the divine dance of life are interwoven with classic photo portraits of her great dances embodying Ishtar, Kwan Yin, Mother Mary (& many other archetypes) with simple joy and complex spirituality. She lived an interpretive life and shares with us the avenues of our own passage. Denis s book holds the reader in an inspired state. Beautifully illustrated.
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Ruth St. Denis founded Adelphi University's dance program in 1938 which was one of the first dance departments in an American university. Her early works are indicative of her interests in exotic mysticism and spirituality. Many companies currently include a collection of her signature solos in their repertoires, including the programme, The Art of the Solo, a showcase of famous solos of modern dance pioneers. Several early St. Denis solos (including Incense and The Legend of the Peacock ) were presented on September 29, 2006, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A centennial salute was scheduled with the revival premiere of St. Denis' "Radha," commissioned by Countess Anastasia Thamakis of Greece. The program's director, Mino Nicolas, has been instrumental in the revival of these key solos. One of her more famous pupils was Martha Graham, who attended Ms. St. Denis' school of dance, Denishawn, that she had started with her husband, Ted Shawn. Doris Humphrey, Evan Burrows Fontaine and Charles Weidman also studied at Denis Shawn, and Graham, Humphrey, Weidman and the future silent film star Louise Brooks all performed as dancers with the Denishawn company. Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn were also instrumental in creating the legendary dance festival, Jacob's Pillow. For many years, Denis taught dance at a studio in Hollywood, California just north of the Hollywood Bowl. In 1963 she teamed with Raymond D. Bowman to bring the first full-length Balinese Shadow Puppet play to the United States. The performance was held at her studio and lasted more than 8 hours. Denis was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 1987.From Booklist:
Ruth St. Denis (1878^-1968), called Miss Ruth by her students and admirers, is credited with creating modern dance in America, and, without question, inspired generations of dancers, including Martha Graham. A woman far ahead of her time, she challenged Victorian mores with her worship of beauty and the eloquence of the body and by dancing freely in revealing costumes to celebrate the sensual as well as the spiritual. Miss Ruth also wrote essays and poetry expressing, as editor Miller explains, her "philosophy of sacred dance, her belief in the role of women in peace-making, her innate love of the earth, and her ever-present connection to the divine." Her exalted prose and poetry articulate the mysticism inherent in her devotion to dance and her belief in humanity's ability to attain enlightenment. Miss Ruth's writings are introduced with a lively biographical profile and accompanied by elegant photographs of her in her stage roles and mystical poses. Donna Seaman
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