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Edwin M. Shawn Edit Profile


Edwin M. Shawn, American dancer. Decorated Cross of Dannebrog (Denmark); recipient of Capezio Dance award, 1956; citation Men’s Garden Clubs American, 1964, New England Regional Theatre Conference, 1964, National Federation Music Clubs, 1965; medal National Society Arts and Letters, 1965.


Shawn, Edwin M. was born on October 21, 1891 in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. Son of Elmer Ellsworth and Mary Lee (Booth) Shawn.


Student of University of Denver. Honorary Master of Physical Education, Springfield (Massachusetts) College, 1936.


Denis, August 13, 1914. Began as teacher and professional dancer, Los Angeles, California, 1912. Founded, with Ruth St. Denis, the Denishawn School, Los Angeles, 1915, later moved to New York City.

Toured United States and England with Denishawn Dancers, 1922-1925, the Orient, 1925-1926, toured America, 1931, 32. Appeared alone in Germany and Switzerland, 1930, 31. Formed 1st company of men dancers, 1933, since toured America with same, also showed in London, 1935.

Seventh consecutive season with men dancers, 1930-1940. Director Summer School of Dance, Graduate School of Physical Education, George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee. Managing director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc., and University of the Dance, from October 1941.

Built and operated first theatre in the United States designed and used exclusively for art of the dance.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Ruth St. Denis, Pioneer and Prophet, 1920. The American Ballet, 1926. Gods Who Dance, 1929.

      Fundamentals of a Dance Education, 1937. Dance We Must, 1940

    • How Beautiful Upon the Mountain, 1943. Every Little Movement: A Treatise on Francois Delsarte, 1954.

      16 Dances in 16 Rhythms, 1956. Thirty Three Years of American Dance, 1959. One Thousand and One Night Stands, 1960.


Served as second lieutenant, Company I, 32d Infantry, United States Army, 1918. Member National Society of Arts and Letters (advisory board), Sigma Phi Epsilon.


Married Ruth St.

Elmer Ellsworth Shawn

Mary Lee (Booth) Shawn

Ruth St.