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Florence Waren Edit Profile

choreographer , consultant , Dance educator

Florence Waren, South African theatre and dance educator, choreographer, consultant. Award Program, 1977-1978, Cultural specialist grant, Arts America to Singapore, 1990.


Waren, Florence was born on March 28, 1917 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Daughter of David Rigal and Gertrude Wolf.


Student Cecchetti School, South Africa, 1931-1938. Student of Volinine, Kniaseff, Egorova, Paris, 1938-1948. Student of Doris Humphrey, 1949.


She moved to Europe from South Africa in 1938, and was soon hired by the Bal Tabarin. In 1939 she was offered a place in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, but World War II began before she could join. During the occupation of Paris the Bal Tabarin was frequented by German officers.

She performed there then. Unknown to the Germans, she was Jewish, but she was still interned for several months in late 1940 as an enemy alien, because as a South African, she was a British citizen. On her release she returned to the Bal Tabarin and paired up with Frederic Apcar to form the dancing duo "Florence et Frederic".

She hid fellow Jews in her apartment, helped Jews find their way from one safe house to the next, smuggled supplies and arms to the French Resistance, and, after a performance in Germany for French prisoners of war, collected letters prisoners had written to their relatives, which if discovered could have made her a prisoner. In 1944 Frederic rented a house in the suburbs to hide her and several other Jewish performers after learning she was to be arrested. Florence married Stanley Waren in 1949, who she met performing in New York at the Copacabana with Frederic.

She then ended the dancing duo with Frederic (but trained a replacement). Frederic died in 2008. Florence stayed in New York with Stanley and appeared on the Kate Smith and Ed Sullivan shows, as well as in plays.

She also choreographed shows Stanley directed in Africa, Taiwan, and China. From approximately 1973 until 1983, she was a professor of theater and dance at City College, and she led the department for part of that time. She was also a dance panelist on the New York State Council on the Arts.

She died in 2011, and her obituary was included in The Socialite who Killed a Nazi with Her Bare Hands: And 144 Other Fascinating People who Died this Year, a collection of New York Times obituaries published in 2012. He also made two documentaries about her friends, Romance and Resistance and The Count of Montmarte. Romance and Resistance is about Gisy Varga, a Hungarian-born nude dancer at the Bal Tabarin who had an affair with a Jewish doctor and hid him from the Nazis.


  • They became famous, appearing on stage with the likes of Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier, while Waren at the same time aided the French Resistance.


  • Other Work

    • Contributor articles to professional journals. Panelist, Council Wide Arts Programming, New York State Council Arts, 1980-1983, 88—. Member planning board State University of New York Dance Festivals, since 1980.

      Board directors Double Image Theatre, New York City, 1974-1990. Official invitee first international ballet pedagogical seminar, Varna, Bulgaria, 1977. Choreographer The Chess King 8th International Arts Festival, Taiwan, 1987, Old B, Hanging On The Wall, Shanghai, 1988.

      Research grantee Faculty Research Award Program, 1977-1978, Cultural specialist grant, Arts America to Singapore, 1990.


Member selection committee Riverside Dance Festival, New York City, 1982-1986, Dance Umbrella Series, New York City, 1976-1980, New York Dance Festival, New York City, 1975-1980. Member National Association for Regional Ballet (director craft of choreographer's conferences 1980-1986), American College Dance Festival Association (dance panelist, consultant new choreographers on point, since 1991), American Council for Arts (dance panelist since 1991).


  • Other Interests

    Literature; theatre; tennis.


Married Stanley A. Waren, November 21, 1949. 1 child, Mark.

David Rigal

Gertrude Wolf

Stanley A. Waren

Mark Waren