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Ruth St. Denis in "Nautch Dance" (postcard)

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Ruth St. Denis in "Nautch Dance" (postcard), n. d.
Photographic materials on Paper
5 5/16 in. x 3 5/16 in. (13.49 cm x 8.41 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Black & white photography
Period: Modern 19th - 1945
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Ramiel McGehee
Accession Number: PH34

In pencil on verso: "Property of Scripps College PH34."

Black and white image on a postcard.

Object Description
Portrait of the thirties actress Ruth St. Denis in her Indian-inspired "Nautch Dance." Though nautch dancing originated in northern Indian temples, over time it progressed to palaces, and eventually to the streets. St. Denis appropriated basic movements from street dancers in Coney Island, adapting them into her own complex and rapid compilation whirling arms, drumming feet, and swishing skirts. As her career progressed St. Denis developed a variety of nautch dances with varying costumes and themes, and it is a testament to their quality that they were popular not only in America and Europe, but in India as well.

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