Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
SPECIAL FOCUS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com iPad Edition

New!
Read ExploreDance.com on your iPad!
Only $0.99 per issue! No ads!
www.exploredance.com/subscribe.htm
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Steven Woodruff
Obituaries
Special Focus
Ballet
Ethnic Dance
Modern/Contemporary
United States
Greater Los Angeles
California
Pasadena, CA
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom

In memory of Evelyn B. Woodruff - A Vignette of a Dance Career in 1940s New York City

by Steven Woodruff
March 21, 2011
Pasadena, CA
Evelyn Barrille Woodruff, former dancer with the Radio City Corps de Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the Sergei Denhan era Ballet Russe died peacefully in Pasadena, California on Friday, March 11th. She was 92.

Mrs. Woodruff, who began her career in her native Boston, studied there under Gladys Wood. She was also a student at The Curry School of Dance in Arlington. In 1926, Evelyn Barrille was recognized as an outstanding child dancer in a Dancer of Merit Award presented by the Boston Post. She danced in many Boston area small theater venues in the late 30s and early 40s. Among them was an evening of dance featuring the international film star and Prima Ballerina with the Ziegfeld Follies, Harriet Hoctor.

She came from a working class family of Sicilian and Irish parents. Her performances in Boston, especially with the noted character dancer and choreographer Vonn Hamilton, were reviewed by The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Herald and the Boston Evening Transcript. Mr. Hamilton had been a dancer with the Met Opera Ballet before returning to Boston in order to establish a school. The programs in Boston included a variety of classical ballet, modern dance and exotic ethnic and novelty choreography.

In the early 40s, Barrille moved to New York City where she freelanced as a dancer while living at the YWCA. She worked with choreographers such as Gemze de Lappe, Agnes de Mille and Laurent Novikoff. She also continued her dance studies at the School of American Ballet where she regularly took classes from George Balanchine.

In New York, as member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, she danced with the Corps de Ballet at Radio City Music Hall, the Met Opera Ballet and one season with the Ballet Russe under Director, Sergei Denham. She recalled sharing the stage with both George Zorich and Fredrick Franklin. Her dancing with the Radio City Ballet included a variety of classical ballet excerpts, oriental exotica, Christmas programs, novelty numbers and appearances with the Music Hall Rockettes.

She also appeared in the dance sequences in many operas with The Met including, La Gioconda, Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmen, Die Meistersinger, Don Giovani, Le Coq d'Or, Mignon, Aida and many others. Those years included annual tours to Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Minneapolis. The company traveled by rail in a self-contained caravan of sleeping cars and freight cars. She found those tours especially exciting and felt fortunate to perform alongside the great opera stars of the day such as Lily Pons and Jan Peerce as well as conductors such as Szell, Leinsdorf, and Bruno Walter. Her contractual agreement with the Met Opera Ballet during those years was twenty five dollars per week, which included four weeks of rehearsal prior to the opening of the season.

Following the war Barrille returned to Boston, married George Jenings, and in 1948, moved to Guam in the Mariana Islands as part of her husband's assignment with the U.S. Navy. While stationed in Guam she taught English to native island children. She had her first son, Steven, there in 1949. In late 1950 the family returned to Boston where she had another son, Douglas. Having retired from dancing she continued to work in professional musical theater as a choreographer and also worked at Tufts University as an administrative secretary in the Theater Department.

The couple divorced in 1956 and she moved to Minneapolis and was married there in 1957 to John Woodruff who taught at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She worked for the Carleton College Alumni organization for many years and returned to teaching ballet with the Northfield Arts Guild. The Woodruffs moved to California in 1975, where her husband headed the theater Department at La Verne University until retiring in 1985. They enjoyed a rich life filled with travel which included years in London, Europe, Japan and India. She continued to pursue a lifelong commitment to and interest in the arts. She was an avid reader and especially enjoyed the dance coverage in the New York Times.

Evelyn Woodruff is survived by her son Steven who is a dancer and writer now living in Los Angeles and her son Douglas, who is a designer and craftsman who lives in Kyoto, Japan.
Evelyn Barrille

Evelyn Barrille

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff


Evelyn Barrille

Evelyn Barrille

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff


Radio City Music Hall Corps de Ballet 1946

Radio City Music Hall Corps de Ballet 1946

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff


Radio City Music Hall Corps de Ballet

Radio City Music Hall Corps de Ballet

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff


Evelyn Barrille & dance partner Vonn Hamilton 1941

Evelyn Barrille & dance partner Vonn Hamilton 1941

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff


City Music Hall Dancers in 'The Glory of Easter'

City Music Hall Dancers in "The Glory of Easter"

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff


Ballet Russe Reunion: Andre Tremaine, Evelyn Barrille, Natasha Middelton, Paul Maure

Ballet Russe Reunion: Andre Tremaine, Evelyn Barrille, Natasha Middelton, Paul
Maure

Photo © & courtesy of The Estate Of Evelyn Barrille Woodruff

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health