Biography of Lester Horton (1906-1953)

Dancer, choreographer and teacher American, born in Indianapolis on January 23, 1906 and died in Los Angeles on January 2, 1953. Considered one of the pioneers of modern dance.

He began his studies of ballet in Chicago, under the tutelage of Adolf Bolm. He subsequently entered the Denishawn to follow the courses of traditional Japanese techniques of Michio Ito. He completed his training at the Art Institute of Indianapolis Heron. From a young age he showed an interest in ethnology and customs and dances of native Americans; with this inspiration, Horton began to make their first dance recitals in the city of Chicago, between 1926 and 1927. He collaborated in the show The Song of Hiawatha (1928), made in California. The Lester Horton Dancers group formed in 1932, which made his choreographic debut in Los Angeles Voodoo Ceremonial and Kootenai War Dance creations.

In 1943 he opened a school and in 1946 its own scenic space, the Melrose Theatre, Los Angeles, with the collaboration of his pupil Bella Lewitzky. He abandoned the stage in 1944 to devote himself fully to teaching. Janet Collins, Alvin Aileyand Joyce Trisler , Carmen de Lavallade were some of its outstanding students. Most of his choreographies dealt with ethnological topics from a point of view of political, social and racial, as shown by his creations: Aztec Ballet (1934), Dictator (1935), The Mine (1935), Lysistrata (1936), Sacre du Printemps (1937), Conquest (1938), Barrel House (1947), The Beloved (1948), Totem Incantation (1948), The Park (1949), Warsaw Ghetto (1949), Medea (1951), Another Touch of Klee (1951) and Peña Prado (1952).