Stories/Oral History



Miscellaneous Information

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From The New York Times, Tuesday, January 9, 1951:

"Miss Alys E. Bentley, a teacher of dancing and music in Washington and New York for more than fifty years, died yesterday at Malone, N. Y.. She was 82 years old.

From 1912 to 1938 she occupied the largest studio, 61, at Carnegie Hall, where she gave instruction in various aspects of rhythmics. She acted as teacher and consultant to many persons prominent in the arts, including Geraldine Farrar, Mary Ellis and Jerome Robbins, who received his first formal dancing instruction from her.

Born at Cateaugay, N. Y., Miss Bentley began her career in Washington, where she was director of public school music for twenty years. She introduced choral singing in the public schools there and published several music books, including a collection of songs that she wrote and set to music.

After leaving Carnegie Hall, Miss Bentley taught at the Edgewood School, Greenwich, Conn., until her retirement in 1949. She also had taught at her own summer camp on Chateaugay Lake at Merrill, N. Y.. Sherwood Anderson was among the pupils who came there for instruction each summer."

Miscellaneous Information


The following paragraph from the 1915 Conference proceedings gives specific information about Alys Bentley's work:


"Miss Alys Bentley, of the Ethical Culture School in New York, is now doing some very remarkable work with young children in the schools, with classes in various parts of the country, and at her summer camp in the Adirondacks, in developing musical exercises. Beginning with the large muscle masses and guided by carefully selected music the child is led to ta series of correlated movements, some of them based on the activities of the animal world. Working from the spinal column as the center, the children acquire a freedom of movement and the power of expression through correlated series that extend to every part of the organism. Through this perfected rhythmical body, the student is then led on to express the feeling awakened in him by various musical compositions. This preserves the individual variant and it should prevent excessive intellectualism."




This information was compiled by Brian Cardany.

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