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Meet The Artists

Biography

Charles Weidman

choreography / Humphrey-Weidman / kinetic pantomime

(1901-1975)

Charles Weidman was an early proponent of modern dance in the United States. In 1920, he received a scholarship to spend the summer studying with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn at the couple's Denishawn school in Los Angeles. Before the session had ended, Weidman was hired as a dancer for the Denishawn company. After Weidman left Denishawn in 1928, he founded the Humphrey-Weidman company with Doris Humphrey and Pauline Lawrence.

Weidman eventually developed his own choreographic style, which became known as “kinetic pantomime”. His works were often populated with characters from his own family. Their stories and dominant movement traits were conveyed through kinetic pantomime in works such as On My Mother's Side (1940), as well as And Daddy Was a Fireman (1943). Familiar character types, along with the humour Weidman incorporated into his choreography, made his work accessible to general audiences.

In the 1940s, Weidman created his own group, the Charles Weidman Theatre Dance Company, which toured until its demise in 1951. In 1960, he co-founded the Expression of Two Arts Theater in New York with sculptor Mikhail Santaro.

Websites:

Charles Weidman Archives

Learn more:

Rogosin, Elinor. The Dance Makers. New York: 1980.