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Ted Shawn
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    (October 21, 1891-January 9, 1972)
    Born in Kansas City, Missouri
    Birth name was Edwin Myers Shawn
    With wife Ruth St. Denis founded the Denishawn School of Dance (1915)
    Founded the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (1932)
    Dances included ‘O Brother Sun and Sister Moon’ (1931) and ‘Kinetic Molpai’ (1935)
    Appeared in the films ‘The Dance of the Ages’ (1912), ‘Intolerance’ (1916) and ‘Don’t Change Your Husband’ (1919)
    Considered a pioneer of modern dance
    He blamed his homosexuality on his wife’s infidelity.
    The Jacob’s Pillow Festival started as a series of tea concerts for women in which Shawn’s men would serve sandwiches to the ladies, then strip to flesh-colored trunks and dance. (Sounds more like Chippendale’s than modern dance.)
    The routine at Jacob’s Pillow included an hour of students sunbathing naked while he lectured on philosophy.
    He was often capricious and vindictive.
    He feuded with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille.
    He continued dancing after becoming alarmingly chunky.
    After being left paralyzed for a year by diphtheria as a college student, he began dancing as therapy.
    He served in the US Army during World War I.
    He pioneered a more masculine style of dance.
    He discovered Martha Graham.
    In the 1920s, he rivaled Rudolf Valentino as a male sex symbol.
    He was knighted by the King of Denmark for his efforts on behalf of the Royal Danish Ballet.

Credit: C. Fishel

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