Two dancers by Delight Weston

Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. |src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. |src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Irma Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Irma Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Irma Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Irma Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed

These pictorial studies of two female dancers in motion are believed to have been taken at the former Ruth Doing Camp for Rhythmics in New York state’s Adirondack mountains. In the 1920’s and 30’s, photographer Delight Weston lived with camp founders Ruth Doing (1881-1966) and Gail Gardner (1878-1949) in New York City, along with other women artists, in a building at 139 W. 56th St. near Carnegie Hall. 

Established in 1916, the summer camp was first located on the shores of Upper Chateaugay lake near Lyon Mountain until 1925, when it moved to Upper St. Regis Lake in Paul Smiths, New York. Renamed the Gardner-Doing Camp after this time, it was coeducational: besides regular summer camp activities, it specialized in the “rhythmic” style of dancing popularized by famed dancer Isadora Duncan, whom Ruth Doing was a former student of. Doing’s life partner, Michigan native Gail Gardner, had earlier made a name for herself as an accomplished and world-traveling opera singer. [quoted from Photoseed]

Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Rhythmic Dancing Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed

Three dancers by Delight Weston

Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed

These pictorial studies of three female dancers in motion is believed to have been taken at the former Ruth Doing Camp for Rhythmics in New York state’s Adirondack mountains. In the 1920’s and 30’s, photographer Delight Weston lived with camp founders Ruth Doing (1881-1966) and Gail Gardner (1878-1949) in New York City, along with other women artists, in a building at 139 W. 56th St. near Carnegie Hall. 

Established in 1916, the summer camp was first located on the shores of Upper Chateaugay lake near Lyon Mountain until 1925, (1.) when it moved to Upper St. Regis Lake in Paul Smiths, New York. (2.) Renamed the Gardner-Doing Camp after this time, it was coeducational: besides regular summer camp activities, it specialized in the “rhythmic” style of dancing popularized by famed dancer Isadora Duncan, whom Ruth Doing was a former student of. Doing’s life partner, Michigan native Gail Gardner, had earlier made a name for herself as an accomplished and world-traveling opera singer.

Another important artistic connection with this photograph is to notable American wood sculptor Wharton Esherick. (1887-1970) Beginning in 1920, he and his family spent their summers at this camp, with dance studies similar to this example- possibly by Delight Weston- contained in a family album along with Esherick’s many quick-sketch drawings: evidence that are known to have aided, complemented and influenced his emerging artistic style: 

The Ruth Doing School of Rhythmics was a dance camp run by Ruth Doing, a former dancer and student of Isadora Duncan, with her business and life partner Gail Gardner in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The Esherick family spent their summers there starting in 1920. In the fall of 1923 Ruth Doing taught dance classes in Philadelphia, assisted by Letty Esherick, Wharton’s wife. Watching and drawing the dancers and their movements heavily influenced Wharton Esherick’s artistic style; his drawings and designs became more free and flowing. At the camp Wharton also was introduced to Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner’s “organic functionalist” design theory, which impacted his style. (3.)

Although unidentified and dated one year later, the intriguing possibility exists the dancers in this photograph may be of camp co-founder Ruth Doing and or Doris Canfield (1895-1993) in motion, with surviving plaster sculptures by Wharton Esherick done in 1920 on display in his namesake museum:

Two early plaster sculptures, which now sit in Esherick’s bedroom, depict dancers from the camp, one of Ruth Doing, the other of dancer and actress Doris Canfield. Both done in 1920, these are very academic for Esherick, though the essential design elements (like the spiral) would show up again and again in Esherick’s work in progressively bolder and more modern designs. (4.)

In addition to these sculptures, sketches of dancing figures done as quick studies on paper by Esherick are in the museum’s collection:

As a regular visitor to the Gardner Doing Dance Camp, Esherick observed dancers like Canfield exploring eurythmy, Rhythmic dance, and other modern dance forms. His wife Letty also danced, sometimes holding classes at their home in Paoli. At times, Esherick joined in with the dance. Otherwise, he was sketching away, attempting to capture bodies in motion. (5.)

Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed

1. Source: blog post: Early Rhythms: Wharton Esherick and the Gardner Doing Dance Camp (JUNE 26, 2017). At the Wharton Esherick Museum online resource. A surviving brochure held by the museum printed in 1923 puts an emphasis on the dancing curriculum and is titled “The Ruth Doing Camp for Rhythmics”. This is believed to be the first name for the camp until 1925 when it moved to Lake Regis and was renamed the Gardner-Doing Camp.

2. The Gardner-Doing camp operated in the summer months until 1946, when it was sold and renamed Camp Regis. Today it is known as Camp Regis-Applejack.  

3. Source: Finding Aid: NOTABLE FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATIONS: “Wharton had close relationships with several well known people, including actresses, authors, photographers, and others. Many commissioned works from him.” :  Wharton Esherick family papers 1895-1996 [bulk 1920-1970] (Philadelphia Area Archives Research Portal (PAARP) Several similar dance photographs by an unknown artist in the Esherick Family Collection were published in the volume: Wharton Esherick and the Birth of the American Modern. (2010) see “Dance Sketches”, p. 96.

4. Source: ibid: see note #1. Another interesting fact is that the summer camps co-founder, Gail Gardner, was Doris Canfield’s aunt. Doris Canfield’s mother Belle Nye had inherited a fortune after gaining a divorce when her first husband Charles Canfield, a western Michigan lumber baron, deserted her in 1905. See: “Belle Nye, the former Mrs. Canfield” February 11, 2016 in the Manistee News Advocate. Doris Canfield, (1895-1993) was employed as a teacher in the Bronxville, N.Y. school system from 1935-1970 where she taught physical education with an emphasis on Rhythmics.

5. Source: blog post: “Figure Drawing Meets Furniture” by Katie Wynne: August, 2020.

Quoted from Photoseed

Delight Weston :: Two groups of three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Two groups of three dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Two groups of three Dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed
Delight Weston :: Two groups of three dancers: Rhythmic Study, 1921. Bromide print. | src Photoseed

Dance performance in 1924

A scene from a dance performance: Annsi Bergh, Mary Hougberg and Marianne Pontan in 1924. | Finnish Heritage Agency · Museovirasto
Kohtaus Annsi Berghin, Mary Hougbergin ja Marianne Pontanin tanssiesityksestä vuonna 1924. JOKA Journalistinen kuva-arkisto Otava @ Finnish Heritage Agency
Kohtaus Annsi Berghin, Mary Hougbergin ja Marianne Pontanin tanssiesityksestä vuonna 1924. JOKA Journalistinen kuva-arkisto Otava @ Museovirasto
A scene from a dance performance: Annsi Bergh, Mary Hougberg and Marianne Pontan in 1924. JOKA [Journalistic photo archive Otava] | Finnish Heritage Agency · Museovirasto

Dancers at Trümpy dance school

Alfred Eisenstaedt :: Costumed dancers at Truempy Dance School looking at themselves in studio mirror, Berlin, 1930, for Life Magazine. | src Google Arts & Culture
Alfred Eisenstaedt :: Dancers at Truempy Dance School, Berlin, 1930-1931. | src Google Arts & Culture
Alfred Eisenstaedt :: First lesson at Truempy dance school, Berlin, 1930, printed in 1995. | src Sotheby’s

L’Art et le Nu au Music-Hall

"L'Art et le Nu au Music-Hall". Paris-plaisirs: revue mensuelle esthétique et humoristique. Janvier, 1925. | src BnF ~ Gallica
"L'Art et le Nu au Music-Hall". Paris-plaisirs: revue mensuelle esthétique et humoristique. Janvier, 1925. | src BnF ~ Gallica [uncredited photographer]
“L’Art et le Nu au Music-Hall”. Paris-plaisirs: revue mensuelle esthétique et humoristique. Janvier, 1925. | src BnF ~ Gallica

Marche Fúnebre, 1921

A moment from the dance Marche Fúnebre (Moscow, 1921), choreographed by Kasjan Goleizovsky, music by Nikolai Medtner, photograph by Daniil Demutsky. Depicted: K. Kuznetsova, Tat’iana Miroslavskaia, and L. Gai. From: Nicoletta Misler: The Russian Art of Movement 1920-1930, page 211. | src Karl Toepfer

Dancers in Persian costumes

Edward J. Steichen :: Dancers in costume for the Persian Fete benefit for the Big Sisters charity. Published in Vogue, February 15th, 1925. | src Condé Nast

Alíz Madzsar dancers, 1920s

Táncosnők, Madzsar Alíz (Madzsar Józsefné Jászi Alice) hagyatékából, 1920-as évek | Dancers from the legacy of Alice Madzsar (Alice Jászi), 1920s | src Kassák Múzeum Budapest
Táncosnők, Madzsar Alíz (Madzsar Józsefné Jászi Alice) hagyatékából, 1920-as évek | Dancers from the legacy of Alice Madzsar (Alice Jászi), 1920s | src Kassák Múzeum Budapest | further information on Madzsar’s work here