Tamiris, Helen

views updated


TAMIRIS, HELEN (née Becker ; 1905–1966), U.S. choreographer and pioneer in the development of modern dance. Helen Tamiris, who was born in New York, made her debut as a concert dancer in 1927. Her interest in American themes and rhythms was expressed in her Negro Spirituals in the 1930s and in her works of social protest. In 1930 Helen Tamiris, together with Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman, formed the Dance Repertory Theater. She served as dance director for the Group Theater in 1932. As chief choreographer of the w.p.a. Federal Dance Theater, she created How Long Brethren? (1937). She did the choreography for Broadway musicals including Annie Get Your Gun (1946). In 1957 she returned to the concert dance field. She established a company in 1960 with her husband Daniel Nagrin, who was noted for his solo portrayals and had appeared in several Broadway shows.


New York Times (Aug. 5, 1966), 31.

[Marcia B. Siegel]