2 3 Throwback Thursday and Helen Tamaris | Ballet Webb

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday and Helen Tamaris

Throwback Thursday and Helen Tamaris
Helen Tamaris was born Helen Becker on April 24, 1905. She was an American dancer and choreographer, one of the first to add jazz and African American spirituals to her work.
She began her dance training with Irene Lewisohn, and later trained in ballet with Michel Fokine at the Metropolitan Opera, where she later performed. At this time she adopted the stage name of Tamaris. She studied briefly with the Isadora Duncan School, but was dissatisfied. Unhappy with both classical ballet and Isadora’s method, she set out to create her own technique and made her performance debut with it in 1927. In 1930 she founded her own school and company.
In addition, she organized the Dance Repertory Theatre in 1930 that presented concerts feather Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. Regardless of her efforts to develop a new style, she never quite succeeded, at least to the level Martha Graham or Isadora Duncan. However, her works were vigorous and exuberant, and incorporated American themes as well spotlighting social issues (How Long Brethren). She also choreographed works for musical theatre, including Annie Get Your Gun, among others.
In 1960 she formed the Tamiris-Nagrin Dance Company with her husband and dance partner Daniel Nagrin. Helen Tamiris died on August 4, 1966 in New York City.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Dance History Factoid #95:  
“Helen Tamaris was one of the early pioneers in modern dance.”

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