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Ruth St. Denis

St. Denis, Ruth (sānt dĕnˈĭs) [key], 1877–1968, American dancer, b. Newark, N.J., whose name was originally Ruth Dennis. After her debut (c.1893) she toured with David Belasco. In 1906 she began her recitals of highly imaginative and spectacular dances inspired by the arts and religions of Egypt, India, and East Asia. She performed in Europe (1906–8) and in the United States (after 1909), exerting a widespread influence on modern dance. With Ted Shawn, whom she married in 1914, she founded the Denishawn Schools in Los Angeles and in New York City (1920). A divergence in their views after 1931 led her to found (1940) a separate school. Her dances include Radha, Incense, Cobras, and Nautch.

See her autobiography (1939). See study by S. Shelton (1981).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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