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