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May O'Donnell

(1909—2004)


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(b Sacramento, Calif., 1909; d 1 Feb. 2004)

US dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She studied with Hanya Holm and danced in the Martha Graham company (1932–8, 1944–53), creating roles in Graham's Appalachian Spring (1944), Herodiade (1944), Dark Meadow (1946), and Cave of the Heart (1946). In 1939 she founded the San Francisco Dance Theatre with Gertrude Shurr and Ray Green, after which she danced with the Limón company (1941–3). From 1949 she had her own company, based in New York. She also taught at her own school and at the School of Performing Arts, as well as at London Contemporary Dance Theatre. Her works included Suspension (1943), Dance Sonata No. 1 (1952), Dance Concerto (1954), Dance Sonata No. 2 (1956), Pursuit of Happiness (1977), and Homage to Shiva (1980). Suspension was reconstructed by the Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels in 1999 to mark O'Donnell's 90th birthday.

Subjects: Dance.


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