An AddendumEmma Lewis Thomas
By Joan Woodbury
In 195556 when I wrote the two articles about Mary Wigman for Dance Observer (long since out of print), it wasn't until I had written the last of the two that I realized I had omitted mentioning one of my dear American friends in Berlin who was also attending the Wigman Schuleand the only one of us who had professional experience dancing with Mary in Germany. Her name is Emma Lewis Thomas, and we all called her Junior. When I realized my omission I immediately contacted the folks at Dance Observer about it and they replied by saying, Were very sorry, but the article is at the printers. That was that! Then, throughout the years I simply forgot the incident.
This photo was taken between November 1955 and probably April 1956 in Mary Wigmans home. Far left: Nahami Abbell (from Chicago, a longtime pupil and friend of Mary), Betty Bowman (dance faculty member from University of Tennessee), Emma Lewis Thomas (from West Virginia, called Junior at that time, who danced with Mary Wigman in Mannheim and Berlin until 1959), Joan Woodbury, Mary Wigman seated on the floor, three unidentified individuals, and Hesschen (Anna Hess, Marys long time house companion) seated facing front. Photo by Charles Woodbury
This past year, when Emma Lew and I reconnected, she reminded me that I had not mentioned her in my articles, and of course, I was completely chagrinned. I don't know if we even had the word brain-cramp in our vocabularies at the time, but that was certainly what I must have had.
While I studied with Mary during the 195556 school season, Emma Lew stayed in Berlin with Mary until 1959, dancing in her major works in Mannheim. You will see her not only in the photo my husband took in 1955 but more importantly in the professional photos below of Wigmans Rite of Spring where she is dancing just behind famous German dancer Dora Hoyer. Since that time Emma Lew has constantly been invited to return to Germany to teach throughout her illustrious career as Professor of Dance at U.C.L.A. in Southern California, and in fact last returned to Berlin to teach in the fall of 2013.
I just wanted apologize for my omission and at the same time set the records straight.
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