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Barton Mumaw, Dancer
From Denishawn to Jacob’s Pillow and Beyond
Jane Sherman, Barton Mumaw

2000 • 392 pp. 90 illus. 6 x 9"
Dance / Memoir / Gay Studies

$26.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6453-5

An intimate portrait of American modern dance and gay life in the 1930s.

Barton Mumaw, a soloist in Ted Shawn's Men Dancers Company (1933 - 40), participated with his mentor in Shawn's lifelong struggle to win respectability for male dancers within American culture. In this "as told to" autobiography, Mumaw relates dramatic stories of the company's groundbreaking cross-country tours, of their building Jacob's Pillow from pre-Revolutionary hardscrabble to preeminent dance festival, and tells for the first time of his intimate relationship with dance pioneer Ted Shawn. This is revealed through details of their lives together and apart, descriptions of their dances, and a stunning selection of rare photographs.

This exceptional memoir, first published in 1986, will engage the general reader and is bound to attract scholars who seek to conjoin the many current works in gay and lesbian studies with today's equally numerous critical works in dance.

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Reviews / Endorsements

"This important account is refreshingly honest, and presents fascinating insights into the intense, quasi-religious idealism of the pioneers of early modern dance."—Ramsay Burt, De Montfort University, UK

BARTON MUMAW was born in 1912, raised in Florida, and entered the Denishawn New York School of Dance in 1930, briefly finding himself a Denishawn Dancer before Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn broke up personally and professionally. In 1933, Shawn asked him to join the new Men Dancers group, where Mumaw remained for the seven years of its existence. Following World War II service in the European theater, Sgt. Mumaw came home to resume his career with solo concerts, as well as appearances as featured dancer in the national company of Annie Get Your Gun, then on Broadway in The Golden Apple and My Fair Lady.

JANE SHERMAN was the youngest member of the Ruth St. Denis - Ted Shawn Company from their fifteen-month tour of the Orient through their Ziegfeld Follies Tour of the US. She is author of Soaring: The Diary and Letters of a Denishawn Dancer in the Far East, 1925 - 1926 (Wesleyan, 1976), winner of the de la Torre Bueno Prize for Best Book in Dance History for that year; The Drama of Denishawn Dance (Wesleyan, 1979), and other works. Today she continues writing and re-creating Denishawn dances for young professionals.

DAVID GERE, an assistant professor at UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures and a frequent scholar-in-residence at Jacob's Pillow, is currently writing a book on dance and AIDS.

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:02:47 -0500