DeMille, Agnes

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DeMille, Agnes

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Dates of existence

1905-1993

History

Agnes George de Mille was born in New York, New York on September 18, 1905. She began her dance training with Kosloff and Rambert and later attended the University of South Carolina. From 1929 to 1940 she appeared in English musical productions and toured as an independent dancer, although she joined Dance Theatre in 1937. In 1939 she joined the New York Ballet Theatre as choreographer and performer. During her first season she choreographed Black Ritual, the first ballet of a classical American ballet company to be danced by all black dancers. She had made her choreographic debut in 1928 with a solo programme that included a piece entitled, Stage Fright. Her other works include Fall River Legend, Rodeo, The Bitter Weird, The Golden Age and The Rehearsal, which were performed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has also choreographed Broadway musicals. She founded and led the Agnes de Mille Dance Theatre from 1953 to 1954 as well as founding the Heritage Dance Theatre in 1973. In 1975, she suffered a stroke, and even though it affected her speech and mobility, she continued to choreograph.
Between 1952 and 1967, Agnes de Mille received eleven honorary doctorates and numerous awards. She was elected into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1973. She was an original member of the National Council on the Arts and the first chairman of its Dance Panel. She also became the first president of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers in 1965 and she wrote and published eleven books. Agnes de Mille passed away on October 7, 1993 in New York.

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New York, Winnipeg

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