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Stuart Hodes (born 1924) is an American dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, dance administrator and author. He was Martha Graham’s partner, danced on Broadway, in TV, film, in recitals, and with his own troupe. His choreography has appeared on the Boston Ballet, Dallas Ballet, Harkness Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and other troupes. He taught at the Martha Graham School, Neighborhood Playhouse, NYC High School of Performing Arts, headed dance at NYU School of the Arts and Borough of Manhattan Community College. He was Dance Associate for the NY State Council on the Arts, dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, president of the National Association of Schools of Dance, and a member of the First American Dance Study Team to China in 1980, returning in 1992 to teach the Guangzhou modern dance troupe.

Stuart Hodes
Stuart Hodes.jpg
Stuart Hodes by Alfred Gescheidt
Stuart Hodes Gescheidt

(1924-11-27) 27 November 1924 (age 94)
OccupationDancer, choreographer, educator, author


Early lifeEdit

Stuart Hodes Gescheidt was born in New York City on November 27, 1924, grew up in Flushing, Miami Beach, FL, and Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. His older sister was writer, Malvine Cole, and younger brother, photographer, Alfred Gescheidt. He attended PS 98, Brooklyn Technical High School, and Brooklyn College, entered the army in 1943, served in the Army Air Corps (not yet called the Air Force). Trained as a B-17 pilot, he flew seven bombing missions before VE Day, then, attached to the Military Air Transport Command, flew troops from Naples, Italy, to Marrakech, Morocco.[1] Reassigned to the Army of Occupation, he began flying reporters for an unofficial Army newspaper, The Foggia Occupator, then joined its reportorial staff.[2] Discharged a 2nd Lt. in June, 1945, he joined the Air Force Reserves for four more years. His first civilian job was publicity director for the Bennington (Vermont) Drama Festival, before re-entering Brooklyn College, leaving when offered a dancing job by Martha Graham.[3]

Dance performanceEdit

Hodes had started taking modern dance classes at the Martha Graham School with no thought of dance as a career until invited to join Graham’s troupe for a U.S. tour in December, 1946, followed by 3 weeks at NYC’s Ziegfeld Theater. He committed to dance in fall, 1947, adding daily ballet classes at the School of American Ballet.[1] He spent 1947 through 1958 with the Martha Graham Dance Company.[4] Among his roles was Adolescent Love (Yellow) in Diversion of Angels, Creature of Fear in Errand into the Maze, Husbandman in Appalachian Spring, Seer in Night Journey, Dark Beloved in Deaths and Entrances, Brother Fire in Canticle for Innocent Comedians, Mad Tom in Lear, Highwayman in Punch and the Judy, and as one of the three male roles in (Theatre for a) Voyage.[1]

Graham dancers were not paid for rehearsals so for income, Hodes taught and danced on Broadway, TV, and night clubs.[4] He was in the original casts of Do Re Mi, First Impressions, Milk and Honey, Paint Your Wagon, Peer Gynt, Sophie, The Barrier, To Broadway with Love, Zeigfeld Follies (1956 edition), and the City Center revival of Annie Get Your Gun. He was a replacement in Kismet, By the Beautiful Sea, Once Upon A Mattress, The King and I and The Most Happy Fella.[5] On TV he danced The Wild Horse in Annie Get Your Gun,[6] swam with Esther Williams as her counter in The Esther Williams AquaSpectacle, also Buick Circus Show, The Milton Berle Show,[7] and specials such as Satins and Spurs, Stingiest Man In Town,[1] Cinderella,[8] The American Cowboy and others. He danced with younger choreographers including, DJ McDonald, Claire Porter,[9] Stephan Koplowitz,[10][11] and Gus Solomons, Jr.[12] In 1985, he performed in Kathy Acker's The Birth of the Poet, directed by Richard Foreman in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.[13]

From 1992 through 1996, he and his wife, Elizabeth Hodes, created and toured their one and two-person musical shows, traveling nationwide in Dancing on Air with Fred Astaire, La Musique de Piaf, Kurt Weill—Berlin to Broadway, Our Marlene (Marlene Dietrich), The Sound of Wings (Amelia Earhart), A Woman’s World, Two Americans in Paris, and others.[14] Elizabeth performed The Sound of Wings, written by Hodes based on the life of Amelia Earhart. In 2000 and 2001, they performed a two-person musical The O’Tooles Tonight!, written by Gayle Stahlhuth, and presented at the East Lynne Theater in Cape May, NJ.[15]

As choreographerEdit

Hodes’ choreographic debut at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA in 1951 included FLAK, a solo based on World War II bombing missions, Surrounding, Unknown, and No Heaven In Earth, original score by Eugene Lester. He opened Dancer's Studio in 1952, a space used by other choreographers including Merce Cunningham and Robert Joffrey.[1] He choreographed for the San Francisco Ballet, Santa Fe Opera,[16] St. Louis Municipal Opera,[17] Boston Ballet, Dallas Ballet[18] and Cologne Opera Ballet.[19] Dances include After the Teacups (1963), Abyss (1965),[19] Prima Sera (1968),[20] and A Shape of Light (1974).[18] Hodes was commissioned by ChoreoConcerts, curated and produced by Laura Foreman, the New School's dance director. Domaine (1974), was a gentle teasing of F.M. Esfandiary, a transhumanist philosopher on the New School faculty.[21] Beggar's Dance (1975), a duet with Susan McGuire to J.S. Bach and Longfellow's Hiawatha.[22] Boedromion (1974), for the George Faison Universal Dance Experience.[23] Other dances include Dance Lessons (1977) a trio for himself, Sara Hook and Kenneth Tosti, Brush (1982), a solo for Argentine dancer, Claudia Florian,White Knight, Black Night (1984) a duet with his daughter Catherine.[1] I Thought You Were Dead, a duet co-choreographed and danced with Alice Teirstein, was named one of Ballet Review’s ten best dances of 1996.[1]

Work as a dance educator, administratorEdit

After leaving the Graham troupe in 1958, Hodes continued to teach at the Graham School, also NYC’s High School of Performing Arts, The New School, New York University, Manhattan Community College and as guest in many American colleges. He was a guest teacher in Toronto, London, Copenhagen, Zurich, also in China and Russia. In 1966, he joined Harkness House for Ballet Arts where he created young audiences dance shows performed at Hunter College and NYC Public Schools. In 1968, he founded his own young-audience troupe, The Ballet Team, which toured nationally,[24] and in 1969, became Dance Associate for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) at the start of its grant-making Aid to Cultural Organizations project. In 1972, he joined New York University's School of the Arts (later Tisch) as head of Dance, during which time he served as a Dance Panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).[25][26][27] In 1983, he was asked to join the First American Dance Study Team to China.[28] In 1985, he became director of The Kitchen, an avant garde arts presenter, which was deeply in debt. He brought about sale of its commercial co-op loft in SoHo and secured its present multistory Chelsea building.[29] In 1987, he became Associate Professor Dance Coordinator at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and in 1989, Executive Director of the Dance Notation Bureau.

Former students include Joan Finklestein, head of the Harkness Foundation for Dance,[30] Stephanie Skura, American choreographer and teacher,[31] Aydin Teker, major choreographer from Istanbul,[32] and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, whose groundbreaking FASE was first shown in a studio at NYU School of the Arts.[30]

Graham vs. GrahamEdit

In 2000, Francis Mason, president of the Martha Graham Center Board of Directors, asked him to become Head of School.[33] In 2001, Ronald Protas, Graham's heir, formed the Martha Graham Trust and sued the Martha Graham Center for the rights to all her dances, her dance technique, and use of her name.[34] Hodes testified in five of the six trials. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum for the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ultimately ruled that 54 of the disputed dances belonged to the Center, ten were in the public domain and one, Seraphic Dialogue, was owned by Protas. All trademark claims brought against the Graham Company and Center were dismissed.[35] Hodes’ personal account of the trials, titled, Graham Vs. Graham: The Struggle for an American Legacy, is unpublished but digital copies are in the Graham archives and New York Public Library.[36]


Hodes began writing as a child. His first job after army discharge was writing publicity for the Bennington Drama Festival, a summer theater.[1] Famed literary agent, Audrey Wood, read his story In the Chorus Room, said it was a chapter of a novel and that if he wrote four more chapters and an outline, she’d get him an advance.[4] It became the novel, Dumbdancer, not completed until after he’d stopped dancing, and remains unpublished. Martha's Advanced Class, describes Graham’s technique class as experienced by someone taking it.[37] Sybil Shearer Dances appeared in Ballet Review.[38] Other articles appeared in Performing Arts Journal, Design for Arts in Education,[39][40] and other publications. A Map of Making Dances (Ardsley House, 1998) is a choreographer’s workbook with (247) experimental movement projects.[41]Part Real-Part Dream: Dancing with Martha Graham (Concord ePress, 2011), a memoir, gives an account of his life, career, and complex relationship with Graham.[42] As of 2016, he was working on a novel titled: Atlas Quit, or, A Tale Told by an Idiot.

“From the Horse's Mouth”Edit

As part of the Graham Company's 80th anniversary celebration in 2007, a special performance of From the Horse's Mouth, Magical Tales of Real Dancers, was presented at the Joyce Theater. The production highlighted stories about Martha Graham from veteran Graham dancers including Dorothy Berea, David Chase, Mary Hinkson, Pearl Lang, Peggy Lyman, Judith Janus, Donald McKayle, and others.[43] Hodes' contribution included Martha's Rap, a whimsical recounting of her career that began:

“There once was a dancer named Martha Graham
When she danced she sure did slay ‘em.”[44]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1953, Hodes married dancer and choreographer Linda Margolies.[45] They have two daughters, Catherine and Martha Hodes. They divorced in 1964. In 1965, he wed dancer/singer/actress Elizabeth Wullen. They live in New York City.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Stuart Hodes, Part Real, Part Dream: Dancing with Martha Graham, Concord ePress, August 2011
  2. ^ Gene Cowan, Foggia Riot Photos Snapped Up by Associated Press, 101% American, November 21, 2011
  3. ^ Sasha Maslov, Veterans Project, Stuart Hodes
  4. ^ a b c Christine Jowers, A Person You Should Meet - Stuart Hodes, The Dance Enthusiast, December 10, 2007>
  5. ^ Chorus Gypsy, Bios, Stuart Hodes
  6. ^ Annie Get Your Gun (1957 TV Movie), Full Cast and Crew,
  7. ^ Doubles Trouble, Rehearsals, Chorus Gypsy
  8. ^ Cinderella, 1957 TV Special, Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ Shortlist, Dancenow/NYC, The Village Voice, September 7–13, 2005
  10. ^ Tobi Tobias, Outsider Art, Dance, New York Magazine, May 6, 1996, p. 88
  11. ^ Jennifer Dunning, Dance in Review, The New York Times, October 4, 1993
  12. ^ Jennifer Dunning, The Listings, April 14-April 20; Paradigm, The New York Times, April 14, 2006
  13. ^ John Rockwell, Opera: Birth of a Poet, Avant-Garde, The New York Times, December 5, 1985
  14. ^ Elizabeth Hodes Vocal Theatre
  15. ^ Stuart Hodes, The O'Tooles Tonight!, Chorus Gypsy,
  16. ^ Hodes, Stuart, Opera Archive Search Result, Santa Fe Opera,2549,2551,2554&query=Hodes%2c+Stuart+
  17. ^ Camelot, Here's Love Highlight Muni Opera Season, The Edwardsville Intelligencer, May 26, 1965, p.11
  18. ^ a b Dallas Ballet at Dunbar Monday, The Baltimore Afro-American, October 7, 1978, p. 13,2922014&hl=en
  19. ^ a b Sharon Mirchandan, Marga Richter, University of Illinois Press, 2012, p. 54
  20. ^ Prima Sera, performed by the San Francisco Ballet
  21. ^ New School ChoreoConcerts and Critiques, ArchiveGrid, New York Public Library, sound recording, November 2, 1974
  22. ^ Don McDonagh, Tap-Dance Memories With Jerry Ames, The Dance, The New York Times, May 23, 1973
  23. ^ Jennifer Dunning, Hodes's 'Boedromion' Danced In Premiere by Faison Company, The New York Times, February 24, 1974
  24. ^ Stuart Hodes, What Educational Role?: A Personal Review, Design for Arts in Education, Volume 88, Issue 2,1986, p. 11-14
  25. ^ Annual Report 1974, National Endowment for the Arts, National Council on the Arts
  26. ^ Annual Report 1975, National Endowment for the Arts, National Council on the Arts
  27. ^ Annual Report 1976, National Endowment for the Arts, National Council on the Arts
  28. ^ Jennifer Dunning, No End to Curiosity about Dance in China, The New York Times, February 1, 1981
  29. ^ Sally Banes, Before, Between, and Beyond: Three Decades of Dance Writing, University of Wisconsin Press, 2007, p. 295
  30. ^ a b Teachers Speak: Legendary dancer Stuart Hodes recalls his students and what he learned from them, The Dance Enthusiast, November 6, 2008
  31. ^ Alan M. Kriegsman, Acting Up: The Theater of Dance, The Washington Post, June 23, 1985
  32. ^ Jennifer Dunning, Dance; Bouncing Back From an Elephantine Disaster, The New York Times, July 11, 1993
  33. ^ Frederick M. Winship, Graham dance legacy gets state aid, UPI Archives, February 28, 2001
  34. ^ Martha Graham Center And School Win Decision To Retain Use Of Martha Graham's Name; Federal Judge Dismisses All Trademark Infringement Claims In Lawsuit By Graham's Heir Ron Protas,, Internet News
  35. ^ Jennifer Dunning, Martha Graham Center Wins Rights to the Dances, Arts, The New York Times, August 24, 2002
  36. ^ Stuart Hodes, Graham Vs. Graham: The Struggle for an American Legacy, 2009
  37. ^ Stuart Hodes, Martha's Advanced Class, 1947
  38. ^ Jack Anderson, Sybil Shearer, 93, Dancer of the Spiritual and the Human, Dies, The New York Times, November 23, 2005
  39. ^ Stuart Hodes, Techno-visions: What Has Dance to Lose?, Design for Arts in Education, Volume 86, Issue 6, p. 18-21
  40. ^ Stuart Hodes, Transforming Dance History: The Lost History of Rehearsals, Design for Arts in Education, Volume 91, Issue 2, p. 10-17
  41. ^ A Map of Making Dances, Amazon, January 1998
  42. ^ Part Real, Part Dream: Dancing with Martha Graham, Kindle Edition,,
  43. ^ Gia Kourlas, A Spirited Gathering of Martha Graham Alumni, Dance, The New York Times, September 18, 2007
  44. ^ Martha's Rap, The Dance Enthusiast,
  45. ^ Gescheidb(sic)-Margolies, The New York Times, March 13, 1953

External linksEdit