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Gertrud Kraus

(1901 – 1977)

Gertrud Kraus was a dancer, pianist, and choreographer. Kraus was born in Vienna, where she studied the piano and also worked as a pianist. She became a dancer and choreographer in the 1920s known for expressionist dances such as The Town Is Waiting and Dream of a Musician. Kraus performed in Europe and created a dance school in Vienna. In 1930 she established a dance company that performed at the Munich International Congress. In 1935 she settled in Tel Aviv, where she performed as a soloist in a program comprising six of her dances and worked at the Opera (1941–47) and at the Habimah and Ohel theaters.

Despite her success as a dancer, she did not succeed in creating a new dance company, so she opened a private ballet school and created, with her students, works in close cooperation with composer Mark Lavri but they did not receive favorable public reception. During the 1940s, she created works for the Israel Philharmonic called "Tune and Dance." In 1948 she was invited to the U.S. and was exposed to the modern dance of the time. Her meeting with Agnes de Mille, Martha Graham, and Anthony Tudor influenced her immensely. In her previous works, her style had been experimental and abstract, emphasizing personal movement and body language. In the new phase, she became more aware of the importance of technique. In the 1950s, she created for the musical theater and the Israeli Ballet Theater, and from the 1960s on, she concentrated on sculpture, painting, and teaching in her studio, at the Rubin Music Academy, and at the Israeli Ballet and Kibbutz Dance Company. In 1968 she was awarded the Israel Prize.


G. Manor, The Life and Dance of Gertrud Kraus (1978)

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.