Muriel Stuart (dancer)

Muriel Stuart (born Muriel Mary Stuart Popper; December 13, 1900 – January 29, 1991) was an English-born dancer and dance educator, based in the United States. She trained with Anna Pavlova, and taught at the School of American Ballet.

Muriel Stuart
Muriel Stuart, an English ballerina in 1921, wearing a dark and voluminous costume with floral embroidery, and a powdered wig. She has her hands crossed at her chest. One foot is visible.
Muriel Stuart, in costume and wig, from a 1921 publication.
Muriel Mary Stuart Popper

December 13, 1900
DiedJanuary 29, 1991 (aged 90)
OccupationDancer, dance educator
Julian Brodetsky
(m. 1926, divorced)

James Warwick (divorced)

Early life and educationEdit

Muriel Mary Stuart Popper was born in 1900,[1] in South Norwood, London.[2][3] She was discovered by Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova as a girl, and trained with Pavlova,[4] and with Ivan Clustine and Enrico Cecchetti. Later she studied modern dance with Martha Graham, Harald Kreutzberg, and Agnes de Mille.[5] "Every new phase of the art is interesting to me," she explained to a newspaper interviewer in 1931.[6]


Stuart was a featured dancer with Pavlova's company[7][8] on world tours from 1916 to 1926.[9][10] She moved to Los Angeles in 1927, and opened a ballet school in Hollywood.[11][12][13] One of her Los Angeles students, Joan Bayley, recalled that "Muriel Stewart was so inspiring! She had this long neck and gorgeous epaulement."[14]

Stuart danced and did choreography with the Chicago Civic Opera Ballet in the 1928-1929 season. She taught for many years at the School of American Ballet in New York, beginning in 1935.[5][15] Among the noted dancers who studied with Stuart were Myra Kinch, Todd Bolender, Laura Dean,[16] Michael Kidd,[17] Jacques d'Amboise,[18] and Alicia Alonso.[19]

Stuart co-wrote a textbook with Lincoln Kirstein, The Classic Ballet: Basic Technique and Terminology (1952), with an introduction by George Balanchine.[20][21] In 1987, she was the first winner of the Mae L. Wien Faculty Award for Distinguished Service at the School of American Ballet.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Stuart married and divorced twice. Her first husband was a violinist, Julian Brodetsky.[23] Her second husband was a playwright, James Warwick.[24] She had a son, Peter Warwick. She died in 1991, in New York City, aged 90 years.[5] Her papers, including lesson plans and photographs, are in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library.[25] The New York Public Library also has an oral history interview with Stuart, given in 1978.[26]


  1. ^ Who's who in music and dance in Southern California. University of California Libraries. Hollywood : Bureau of Musical Research. 1933. p. 255 – via Internet Archive.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "Girl Gets Letter from England". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. 1915-10-13. p. 7. Retrieved 2020-04-21 – via
  3. ^ "Muriel Mary Stuart Popper, naturalization petition (1930)". Fold3. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  4. ^ Kinney, Margaret West (1924). The Dance; Its Place in Art and Life. Frederick A. Stokes Company. p. 304.
  5. ^ a b c Dunning, Jennifer (1991-01-30). "Muriel Stuart, 90, Dancer for Pavlova And Ballet Teacher". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  6. ^ Mayer, Mary (1931-11-29). "Pavlowa Disciple Clings to Classic Ballet Ideal". The Los Angeles Times. p. 34. Retrieved 2020-04-21 – via
  7. ^ "Distinguished Dancers to Assist Pavlowa". Pacific Coast Musical Review. 41: 4. January 7, 1922.
  8. ^ "Pavlowa's Ballet Russe". Pacific Coast Musical Review. 41: 5. December 17, 1921.
  9. ^ "Muriel Stuart's biography". Dance Class Music, Jay Distributors. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  10. ^ "Colorful Dances Brighten the Stage". Theatre Magazine: 25. July 1921.
  11. ^ "American Girls Praised". The Los Angeles Times. 1930-02-16. p. 30. Retrieved 2020-04-21 – via
  12. ^ "Exponent of Russian Dancing Arrives". The Los Angeles Times. 1929-11-03. p. 38. Retrieved 2020-04-21 – via
  13. ^ "Dancer Commands Large Following". The Los Angeles Times. 1931-03-01. p. 36. Retrieved 2020-04-21 – via
  14. ^ "Early life and training". Joan Bayley. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  15. ^ Fisher, Barbara (2013-09-01). In Balanchine’s Company: A Dancer’s Memoir. Wesleyan University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8195-7447-3.
  16. ^ "Laura Dean Biography". Laura Dean - Dancer, Choreographer, Composer. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  17. ^ "Remembering the Legendary Michael Kidd". L.A. Dance Chronicle. 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  18. ^ D'Amboise, Jacques (2011-03-01). I Was a Dancer. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 81–82. ISBN 978-0-307-59523-2.
  19. ^ Tompkins, Cynthia; Foster, David William (2001). Notable Twentieth-century Latin American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-313-31112-3.
  20. ^ Stuart, Muriel; Kirstein, Lincoln (1952). The Classic Ballet: Basic Technique and Terminology. University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-1617-7.
  21. ^ "Miss Muriel Stuart to Talk on Ballet". The Times-Tribune. 1954-01-25. p. 31. Retrieved 2020-04-21 – via
  22. ^ "The Mae L. Wien Awards". School of American Ballet. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  23. ^ WJW (1991-02-16). "Muriel Stuart (obituary)". The Guardian. p. 21. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  24. ^ "James Warwick Is Dead at 89; Playwright and Screen Writer". The New York Times. 1983-08-19. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  25. ^ "Muriel Stuart papers". New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  26. ^ "Interview with Muriel Stuart, 1978". NYPL Digital Collections. Retrieved 2020-04-21.