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Jane Sherman (1908 - 2010)

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from Jacob's Pillow press office:

Jane Sherman was born on June 14, 1908 in Beloit, Wisconsin, the daughter of advertising writer Horace

Humphrey Sherman and opera singer Florentine St. Clair Sherman. Her formal dance studies began at the

age of thirteen, after the family had moved to New York and she saw Ruth St. Denis perform the Brahms Waltz

and Liebestraum at Carnegie Hall. Just after graduating from high school, she toured the Far East with Ruth

St. Denis, Ted Shawn and the Denishawn Dancers in 1925-26. Her diaries from that journey would later form

the core of her award-winning book, Soaring. She toured with the Ziegfeld Follies in 1927-28 and was a

member of the first Humphrey-Weidman Company in 1928. She performed in a number of Broadway

productions in the 1920s, including the third Garrick Gaieties, 9:15 Revue and Hello, Daddy, and danced with

the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in 1934-35.

Sherman's writing talents were first employed when she was fiction editor for Seventeen magazine in the mid-

1940s, and she wrote a number of children's books in the 1950s. With the publication of Soaring: The Diary

and Letters of a Denishawn Dancer in the Far East, 1925-1926, which won the prestigious De La Torre Bueno

Prize in 1975, she embarked upon an active career writing about Denishawn and staging the works of Ted

Shawn and Ruth St. Denis for performance. With the Denishawn Repertory Dancers (which she co-founded)

and the Vanaver Caravan, she revived many forgotten Denishawn works which were seen at Jacob's Pillow, at

the 1990 Lyon Biennale Festival, and at other venues throughout the world. She also rehearsed Denishawn

works for the Martha Graham Dance Company and coached Cynthia Gregory in the St. Denis work that had

first inspired her to dance. Sherman's dance books include The Drama of Denishawn Dance, Denishawn: The

Enduring Influence, and Barton Mumaw, Dancer, which she co-wrote with Mumaw.

Sherman married composer and science teacher Ned Lehac in 1940, and they retired together to the Actors

Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey in the 1990s. Since moving to Englewood, she wrote two books of

poetry, Songs of Senescence and A Bestiary of Poems, the most recent of which was published when she was

99. Lehac died several years ago at the Actors Fund Home, where Sherman passed away peacefully on

March 16, 2010, at the age of 101. A memorial celebration will be scheduled for the summer.

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