Born in Kentucky and raised in Texas as Russell Meriwether Hughes, La Meri (1899-1988) studied and performed all over the world. She made her New York debut in 1928 and first danced at Jacob's Pillow in 1940. Her Pillow appearances were varied and many, encompassing virtually every season thereafter until her retirement more than twenty years later. La Meri was also a major cornerstone of the Pillow's faculty for decades, and she served as a member of the Board of Directors. While she presented the dances of many cultures, she specialized in Spanish and Indian forms. A particularly memorable offering was her interpretation of Swan Lake using Hindu gesture technique. This was the dance that she performed at the Pillow in her final appearance, partnered by her former student, Matteo, as the Prince.
Dance Title: Hamsa-Rani
Choreography: La Meri (1944)
Music: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (music added to video in 2007)