(b Hanover, 27 Dec. 1906; d New York, 14 May 1997)
German-US dancer and teacher. She studied eurythmics in Dresden, modern dance with Martha Hill in Oregon, and with Graham in New York. She danced with Graham's company (1929–32) but was forced to retire from the stage because of a knee injury. From 1933 she became one of the US's most celebrated teachers of modern dance composition, and in 1984 Dance Theater Workshop named its annual New York Dance and Performance Awards, the Bessies, after her.