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Chase, Lucia (1897–1986)

Chase, Lucia (1897–1986)

American dancer and founder. Name variations: Lucia Chase Ewing. Pronunciation: LOO-shuh. Born Mar 24, 1897, in Waterbury, Connecticut; died Jan 1986, in New York, NY; dau. of Irving Hall Chase (president of Waterbury Watch Co.) and Elizabeth Hosmer (Kellogg) Chase; studied ballet at Vestoff Serova School; studied with Mikhail Mordkin; m. Thomas Ewing Jr., 1926 (died 1933); children: Thomas (died 1963); Alexander Cochran Ewing (chancellor of North Carolina School of the Arts).

Became a principal dancer and founding member of the Ballet Theatre (1940), later to be called the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), intent on developing a worldclass American ballet company; during the initial sold-out season, created roles of the Girl in Loring's The Great American Goof and Minerva in Tudor's Judgment of Paris; made her mark in a number of other performances, including the title role in Princess Aurora, the Greedy One in Agnes de Mille's Three Virgins and the Devil, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and Pallas Athena in Helen of Troy; became co-director of the company (1945); dancing career peaked (1960), when she and Nora Kaye performed in Tudor's Pillar of Fire, which was considered one of the masterpieces of the company; throughout near 40-year association with ABT, provided generous financial support and guided careers of countless dancers and choreographers. Received Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980).

See also Women in World History.

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