National Museum of Dance Collection
National Museum of Dance Collection
National Museum of Dance Collection

Ted Shawn

American modern dance pioneer, Ted Shawn, was among the first group of Hall of Fame inductees in 1987, and was honored with a retrospective at the Museum in 1991, Ted Shawn: A Centennial Tribute to the Father of American Dance. As a result, Barton Mumaw, former Men Dancer and Shawn’s longtime muse and partner, donated a notable collection of books, early performance programs from Jacob’s Pillow and Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers, artifacts, and original photographs of both Shawn and Mumaw in performance and at the Pillow. The Museum also includes in this collection costumes from Shawn’s Death of a God (1929) and Olympiad–A Suite of Sports Dances (1936), and a notable lithograph by Katherine S. Dreier, American artist, collector, and co-founder of the Société Anonyme. Dreier was a friend and patron of Shawn, and the author of Shawn the Dancer (1933). In 1934, she created 1 to 40 Variations, two groups of twenty black and white lithographs with pochoir hand coloring, each one of which is unique. The Museum’s lithograph was a gift of Stanley Davis, a student at Jacob’s Pillow in the mid-1930s. Shawn choreographed A Dreier Lithograph for six dancers in 1935 to a composition by Jess Meeker, the Pillow’s composer and musical director, inspired by one of Dreier’s Variations.