2 3 Throwback Thursday and Lucia Chase | Ballet Webb

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Lucia Chase

Throwback Thursday and Lucia Chase

Lucia Chase Ewing was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on March 24, 1907. She was the third of five daughters born to Irving Hall Chase and Elizabeth Hosmer Kellogg Chase. She studied ballet at the Vestoff Serova School, but was quoted as saying that acting was her first love, and dancing a hobby.

However, she studied ballet seriously under Mikhail Mordkin. In 1937 she debuted with the Mordkin Ballet, and soon became its principal dancer. In 1938 Richard Pleasant became company manager and he wanted to create an even bigger company that would not only preserve past classical works, but also present the best contemporary ones.

1n 1940, Ballet Theater became a reality, with Richard Pleasant as director. Lucia Chase danced with this company and also provided financial support. In 1945 she became co-director along with Oliver Smith. Together they guided and developed the company until 1980, when Mikhail Baryshnikov took the helm.

On the 35th anniversary of ABT, New York City presented her with the Handel Medallion, (the city’s highest cultural award), and  in 1981 she received the Norman Lloyd Award of the North Carolina School of the Arts (for distinquished achievement in dance). During her long career she received many such awards.

Lucia Chase died in 1986, at age 88.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #98: 
“Lucia Chase was co-founder and co-director of American Ballet Theater.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”
― Criss Jami

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