Severn, Margaret (1901–1997)

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Severn, Margaret (1901–1997)

American ballet and interpretive dancer and choreographer. Born 1901 in Birmingham, Alabama; died in Vancouver, British Columbia, 1997; dau. of Dr. Elizabeth Severn (suffragist and psychologist).

At 9, moved to London where she trained with Léon and Edouard Espinosa; made solo debut at Hotel Savoy (1914) before moving to New York, where she continued training with Mikhail Fokine and Luigi Albertieri, and took classes at Denishawn School; at 15, appeared at Metropolitan Opera in Aida; was a soloist in Ruth St. Denis recitals (1917); appeared on Broadway in Linger Longer Letty (1919), As You Were (1920), and Greenwich Village Follies of 1920; appeared in vaudeville on Keith and Orpheum circuit, using character masks in most performances; created works for Ballets Russes de Ida Rubinstein and Ballets Russes de Paris (1935–36), among them Rhapsodie and Bolero; played important role in unionization of dancers (late 1930s) and was founding president of The Dancers' Club; retired to Vancouver (1971).

See also (documentary) Dance Masks: The World of Margaret Severn (1981).