Lou Adelaide Goodale Bigelow [1884-1968]
Photo of dancer choreographer Edwin “Ted” Myers Shawn [1891-1972], ca.1917-ca.1924
Photograph on paper
? x ? inches
Signed at lower left : ‘Lou Goodale Bigelow’.
Marking type: Pencil dedication.
Location: Photograph verso.
Text: ‘To / Mr. S. F. Pierce [the manager of The Royal Alexandra Hotel, Winnipeg, Ontario] / whose hospitality at / the Royal Alexandra / ?? shall never ??? / Cordially / .T Shawn’.
How Diphtheria changed the course of modern dance history…
Modern dance has its roots in a deadly childhood respiratory infection, diphtheria. In 1921, it killed more than fifteen thousand people.
At nineteen, Ted Shawn was infected; leading to temporarily paralysis. On the advice of doctors he took up dance as physical therapy. He was cured, forever sealing the boy’s belief and advocacy for dance.
In 1914 he met and married Ruth St. Denis. The two started the Denishawn Company and School, changing the course of dance history.
Today’s modern dancers trace their ancestry to the Denishawn. If was Ted who first recognized the talent of Martha Graham.
In 1930, clear to Ted that he was gay, he separated from his wife and created a revolutionary company of all male dancers.
Shawn became America’s first man to achieve a world reputation in dance and provide a platform for other dance greats like Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey and Robert Joffrey.
Ted Shawn’s legacy is captured in this solo image by early American female photographer Lou Adelaide Goodale Bigelow.
This picture dates from about 1917 to 1924.
It is inscribed to ‘S.F. Pierce’, the manager of The Royal Alexandra Hotel, Winnipeg, Ontario.