Raised in a Bohemian environment, Ruthie Dennis (1879-1968) studied ballroom and skirt dancing in Somerville, New Jersey, and first performed professionally as a variety act in 1894 at Worth’s Family Theatre and Museum in New York. By 1906 with Radha, St. Denis had developed the essence of her distinctive dance style, combining spiral form with equal parts voluptuousness, mysticism, and erotica. She built a stunning career as a soloist and, in 1914, acquired a professional and personal partner in Ted Shawn. A year later they opened Denishawn which, as a school and company, nurtured leaders of the next generation of modern dancers: Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman. St. Denis performed on more than a dozen Pillow seasons between 1940 and 1964 (including a 1949 performance of Liebestraum), and her portrait still hangs beside the proscenium in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Her works are occasionally revived at the Pillow, including memorable performances by Cynthia Gregory and Carmen de Lavallade.