Juana de Laban (1910-1978) was the director of graduate studies in theater at Baylor University, a distinguished professor
at the University of Wisconsin, and served on the dance faculty at UCLA for nearly a decade. She was active in many educational
and professional organizations, including the Sacred Dance Guild of America. The collection consists of books, pamphlets,
dance programs, magazines and journals, as well as correspondence, typed drafts and carbon copies, photographs, clippings,
notes, and sketches.
Juana de Laban was a notable figure in the dance world, having participated in the field as a dancer, teacher, choreographer,
director, critic and scholar. Of Hungarian descent, Juana de Laban von Varalja was born on October 21, 1910 en route from
Austria to Switzerland. She was the daughter of Rudolf von Laban, the inventor of the system of Labanotation, a groundbreaking
method of notating and interpreting human movement. De Laban studied with the Institute of Choreographics in Berlin and the
Royal Hungarian Academy in Budapest. She spent time working for European film companies TERRA and URA and became known for
her interpretation of native Hungarian dances. With the start of World War II, de Laban relocated to Texas and eventually
received her master's and doctoral degrees in dramatic theory and criticism from Yale University. She is said to be the recipient
of the first PhD ever granted in the U.S. for the study of dance criticism. De Laban became director of graduate studies in
theater at Baylor University. She went on to serve on the dance faculty at UCLA for eight years, during which time she started
a free lecture series, worked to build the library in the area of dance history and aesthetics, and helped Library Special
Collections acquire the Ruth St. Denis papers. She was active in many educational and professional organizations, including
the Committee on Research in Dance, Sacred Dance Guild of America and the Dallas Theater Center. In the fall of 1971, de Laban
moved back to Texas as director of the graduate program in dance at Southern Methodist University. In 1973 she relocated to
Temple, Texas where she later died on July 4, 1978. Her publications include Dance Notation (c. 1946).
2 boxes (2.4 linear ft.)
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