Ted Shawn's Men Dancers

Recorded at Jacob's Pillow: 
1937

Later describing the lifespan of this groundbreaking company as "seven magic years," Ted Shawn selected his original core group of dynamic performers from the athletes he taught at Springfield College. His purpose was to forge a new performance style for men, and to prove that dancing could be an honorable profession for the American male. The company performed over a thousand times in more than 750 different cities around the U.S. and Canada, as well as overseas in London and Havana. They played major concert halls and danced with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1936. The troupe's star dancer was Barton Mumaw, whose performing career continued for decades. Another enduring byproduct of the Men Dancers' activities was the establishment of Jacob's Pillow, where they first performed on July 14, 1933 and gave their final "homecoming" concert on August 31, 1940. The work seen here, Kinetic Molpai, was revived in 1962 by Norman Walker, and again in the early 1990s by a new group known as Jacob's Pillow's Men Dancers.

Dance Title: Kinetic Molpai
Choreography: Ted Shawn (1935)
Music: Jess Meeker (music added to video by Jess Meeker & John Sauer in 1985)