Charles Weidman and Doris Humphrey in her Variations and Conclusions from "New Dance" (1935)

Barbara Morgan, Courtesy DM Archives

Why Doris Humphrey Left Denishawn, In Her Own Words

Modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey was born October 17, 1895.

After a decade as a soloist with Denishawn, her growing disillusionment with its management and artistic principles led her to leave the company with Charles Weidman and Pauline Lawrence. In a series of letters to her parents penned in 1928, excerpted in the February 1976 issue of Dance Magazine, Humphrey wrote, "I've worried over [Ruth St. Denis] till I'm sick—and decided to quit and concentrate on things that are right, or wrong ones that are within my power...I'll probably change my mind about being an idealist—but I'm set on it now."


The Humphrey-Weidman company found great success presenting works on contemporary American social concerns. Though arthritis forced Humphrey to stop dancing in 1945, she continued to teach and choreograph, and served as artistic director of her student José Limón's company, until her death in 1958.

Courtesy DM Archives

Doris Humphrey (right) and her mother, 1905


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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
December 2020