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SAB 90 - Muriel Stuart

Who was Muriel Stuart?

"She was born in 1903 in London and auditioned for Anna Pavlova at 8 years old. “When it came Stuart’s turn to audition, the child danced a waltz. Pavolova asked the pianist to segue into a polka—and so did Stuart, without notice, in response to the tempo change. This excited Pavlov’s interest to no end, since she was curious about the children’s ability with rhythm."

“When Stuart was 13 she entered Pavlova’s company and performed with it for 13 years, until 1926.” [1]

She also trained under Enrico Ceccetti, Martha Graham, and Agnes DeMille. She was briefly choreographed for the Chicago Lyric Opera, and she opened a ballet studio in Hollywood, before being invited to teach at SAB in 1935.

What was Muriel Stuart like?

“An erect, handsome, gray-haired woman with a slender figure and joyous face whose public persona dislike a walk through Paradise Garden.”

“She greets them wearing, unvaryingly, a long skirt, leotard top and bit of scarf about the throat. Her slippers are black with bright pink ribbons. If one judges by photographs she has worn the same outfit, top to toe, for years.”

“As she floats about, touching and correcting gently with love, now and then she will leave off and cruise the room snapping her fingers in time to the music.” [1]

Muriel Stuart’s thoughts on teaching:

“In those years she preferred to teach beginners and intermediates, because ‘although very painstaking and slow, and requiring an enormous amount of patience, the placement of the body alone is so important. The shoulders have to drop softly down; the feet are in an unnatural position; movement has to be inspiration, and you can’t give someone inspiration if she doesn’t have a very fine, carefully coached foundation. the work with children is so interesting because you’ve got raw material, and you can enhance and enable it—open them up, so to speak, and let their souls come forth.” [1]

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