Agnes de Mille - Dancers, Career and Life

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Agnes de Mille's Personal Details

Agnes de Mille was a famous American dancer and choreographer

InformationDetail
BirthdaySeptember 18, 1905
Died onOctober 7, 1993
NationalityAmerican
FamousChoreographers, Dancers, Dancers, Ballet Dancers, Choreographers
SpousesWalter Foy Prude
SiblingsRichard de Mille - Peggy George
Childrens Jonathan Prude
Universities
  • BA
  • University of California at Los Angeles (1926)
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Agnes de Mille Dance Theatre
Birth PlaceNew York City
GenderFemale
FatherWilliam C. de Mille
MotherAnna Angela George
Sun SignVirgo
Born inNew York City
Famous asAmerican dancer and choreographer
Died at Age88

// Famous Dancers

Agnes de Mille's photo

Who is Agnes de Mille?

Agnes de Mille was a famous American dancer and choreographer who took a long and successful but eventful journey in the domain of theatre and ballet areana. She was known for the turbulent journey, which she embarked in the world of theatre. She introduced ballet form to musical comedy. It was she who utilized dance to enhance the plot of the story. Films like ‘Oklahoma!, and musicals like ‘Bloomer Girl’, ‘Brigadoon’, ‘Carouse’l and ‘Paint Your Wagon’ are the proof of her innovativeness in this regard. She choreographed around 15 musicals and 21 ballets. She was an important figure of new American realism that combined ballet techniques, vernacular movement and modern psychology. She did not receive success in Hollywood as her only successful film was ‘Oklahoma!’. Her works namely, ‘The Art of Ballet’ and ‘The Art of Choreography’ were broadcasted on television in 1956. Both of them attracted public attention for their attempts to represent serious dance. She also authored several books, which included ‘Reprieve’, ‘America Dances’ and so on. She was the recipient of several prestigious awards for her outstanding contribution in the field of dance and choreography.

// Famous Choreographers

Childhood & Early Life

Born in New York, Agnes was the daughter of William Churchill de Mille, a famous playwright and Hollywood director. Her mother was Anna George. Her uncle Cecil B. de Mille was also a Hollywood director.

She wanted to become an actress but later turned her attention to dancing. As dancing in that era was not considered as a suitable career option, so her parents did not allowed her to dance.

She did her schooling in California at the small private Hollywood School for Girls. Later, she studied at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) from where she completed her graduation.

Career

As she could not find employment in theatres, she composed dances for herself, arranged the music, designed the costumes and also gave a series of solo dance recitals.

In 1933, she shifted to London where she studied with Dame Marie Rambert and joined Rambert’s company, namely, The Ballet Club. Next year, she choreographed the film ‘Cleopatra’, but unfortunately the dances were cut from the film later.

During one of her journeys back to United States, Miss De Mille decided to choreograph the dance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which starred Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard. The dance piece was beautiful and brought great deal of critical attention to Agnes.

In November 1938, she returned to United States and toured the entire country along with Joseph Anthony, a renowned stage director and Sybil Shearer, a popular dancer.

In 1940, De Mille became the charter member of a ballet theater for whom she created her inaugural ballet, ‘Black Ritual’. The ballet included black dancers, the first in the history of a ballet company.

In 1941, she created ‘Three Virgins and A Devil’ which became a tremendous hit and was highly appreciated both by the critics as well as the audiences.

In 1942, De Mille created a ballet for the ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The ballet became a huge hit. On October 16, 1943, she herself danced for the leading role at the Metropolitan Opera House, which earned her a standing ovation.

De Mille’s another huge success was ‘Brigadoon’, which was followed by ‘Allegro’, in which she acted as the stage director as well as choreographer. She was the first dancer who attempted to play these roles simultaneously. De Mille also did ‘The Rape of Lucretia’, of which she was the stage director.

In 1953, she choreographed the film ‘Oklahoma!’ , that cost more than a million dollars. But, she never considered this film as a first rate film.

For her gift of the gab, President Kennedy appointed her as a member of the National Advisory Committee on the Arts. President Johnson also appointed her as a member of the National Council of this organization.

In 1974, she inaugurated the Agnes de Mille Heritage Dance Theatre at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. This company used to conduct cross-country tours.

She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. She was the president of this organization for several years.

Major Works

Her first significant work on ballet was ‘Rodeo’ in 1942. It included tap dancing and movements that remind American West. The score of ‘Rodeo’ was composed by Aaron Copland. This work of Agnes brought her critical acclaim.

Awards & Achievements

She received two American Theatre Wing ‘Tony’ Awards for her contribution in ‘Brigadoon and Kwamina’.

In 1987, she became the recipient of an ‘Emmy’ for her work ‘Agnes, The Indomitable de Mille’.

Personal Life & Legacy

She married Walter Foy Prude, a Texan on June 14, 1943. They had a son namely Jonathan de Mille Prude who was born in 1946.

In 1993, at the age of 88, she died of a second stroke in her Greenwich Village apartment. At the time of her death, she was still an influential figure in the cultural field of her country.

Trivia

Initially she was interested in pursuing a career in acting, but, she was told that she was ‘not pretty enough;’ hence she turned her attention towards dancing.

During her performance as stage director and choreographer for ‘Allegro’, she used to keep people busy at the same time in three theaters, one for the actors, one for the dancers and one for the singers.

// Famous Ballet Dancers

Agnes de Mille awards

YearNameAward

Other

1947 - Tony Award for Best Choreography
1986 - Drama Desk Special Award
1980 - Emmy award for her work in The Indomitable de Mille

Agnes de Mille biography timelines

  • // 18th Sep 1905
    Born in New York, Agnes was the daughter of William Churchill de Mille, a famous playwright and Hollywood director. Her mother was Anna George. Her uncle Cecil B. de Mille was also a Hollywood director.
  • // 1933
    In 1933, she shifted to London where she studied with Dame Marie Rambert and joined Rambert’s company, namely, The Ballet Club. Next year, she choreographed the film ‘Cleopatra’, but unfortunately the dances were cut from the film later.
  • // 1938
    In November 1938, she returned to United States and toured the entire country along with Joseph Anthony, a renowned stage director and Sybil Shearer, a popular dancer.
  • // 1940
    In 1940, De Mille became the charter member of a ballet theater for whom she created her inaugural ballet, ‘Black Ritual’. The ballet included black dancers, the first in the history of a ballet company.
  • // 1941
    In 1941, she created ‘Three Virgins and A Devil’ which became a tremendous hit and was highly appreciated both by the critics as well as the audiences.
  • // 1942
    In 1942, De Mille created a ballet for the ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The ballet became a huge hit. On October 16, 1943, she herself danced for the leading role at the Metropolitan Opera House, which earned her a standing ovation.
  • // 1943
    She married Walter Foy Prude, a Texan on June 14, 1943. They had a son namely Jonathan de Mille Prude who was born in 1946.
  • // 1953
    In 1953, she choreographed the film ‘Oklahoma!’ , that cost more than a million dollars. But, she never considered this film as a first rate film.
  • // 1974
    In 1974, she inaugurated the Agnes de Mille Heritage Dance Theatre at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. This company used to conduct cross-country tours.
  • // 7th Oct 1993
    In 1993, at the age of 88, she died of a second stroke in her Greenwich Village apartment. At the time of her death, she was still an influential figure in the cultural field of her country.

// Famous Choreographers

Agnes de Mille's FAQ

  • What is Agnes de Mille birthday?

    Agnes de Mille was born at 1905-09-18

  • When was Agnes de Mille died?

    Agnes de Mille was died at 1993-10-07

  • Where was Agnes de Mille died?

    Agnes de Mille was died in Greenwich Village

  • Which age was Agnes de Mille died?

    Agnes de Mille was died at age 88

  • Where is Agnes de Mille's birth place?

    Agnes de Mille was born in New York City

  • What is Agnes de Mille nationalities?

    Agnes de Mille's nationalities is American

  • Who is Agnes de Mille spouses?

    Agnes de Mille's spouses is Walter Foy Prude

  • Who is Agnes de Mille siblings?

    Agnes de Mille's siblings is Richard de Mille - Peggy George

  • Who is Agnes de Mille childrens?

    Agnes de Mille's childrens is Jonathan Prude

  • What was Agnes de Mille universities?

    Agnes de Mille studied at BA, University of California at Los Angeles (1926)

  • Which company or organization was founded by Agnes de Mille?

    Agnes de Mille was the founder/co-founder of Agnes de Mille Dance Theatre

  • Who is Agnes de Mille's father?

    Agnes de Mille's father is William C. de Mille

  • Who is Agnes de Mille's mother?

    Agnes de Mille's mother is Anna Angela George

  • What is Agnes de Mille's sun sign?

    Agnes de Mille is Virgo

  • How famous is Agnes de Mille?

    Agnes de Mille is famouse as American dancer and choreographer