American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 15

Ruth St. Denis

Ruth St. Denis, along with Loie Fuller, and Isadora Duncan, was one of the founders of interpretive dance.  She began in the "museums" of early vaudeville, often putting in eight vigorous shows a day for the gawkers who came to look at specimens in a bottle, so-called "freaks," and performers like Ruth trying to get a stephold in show biz.  All told she spent nearly 30 years touring in vaudeville, where she introduced audiences to Asian dance.  She co-founded the Denishawn troupe with her husband Ted Shawn.  They had  a huge act with exotic scenery and costumes, a large company of dancers, and an honest feel for the Eastern metaphysics and dance.