If you’re an American modern dancer, Ruth St. Denis is likely at the tip-top of your dance family tree. This dramatic, dancing master taught pretty much everyone who was anyone in the first half of the 20th century, including Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman.
Dance photographer Christopher Duggan referred to this gem of a photo of St. Denis at Jacob’s Pillow when creating his Then & Now series at the festival in 2012. He had always loved John Lindquist’s photo of St. Denis in a huge skirt against a clear blue sky. When he found out there was a similarly massive skirt featured in Jessica Lang’s performance that summer, he knew what he had to do:
Top Left: Ruth St. Denis by John Lindquist (© Harvard Theatre Collection); Top Right & Bottom: Jessica Lang dancer Kana Kimura in a dress by Elena Comendador by Christopher Duggan