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May 24, 1888: Birth of Duluth interpretive Dancer Emily Schupp

On this day in Duluth in 1888, Emily Victoria Schupp was born to William and Amelia Victoria (Kugler) Schupp, who would become a pioneer of interpretive dance. From 1907 to 1910 she traveled throughout Europe, studying the folk dances of Russia, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, and Germany. In January of 1911 she returned to Russia to continue her studies. In 1912 she moved to New York City to continue her studies and begin her professional career. Her New York debut as a professional dancer was on April 24, 1914, at the Princess Theater. By now she had adopted the stage name “Lada.” (The story is that a Czech composer, Reinhold Gliere, after seeing her dance, wrote a song for her entitled Lada, which means “the awakening,” connoting the spirit of youth.) A reviewer at the time said of that performance: “Her art is of the same school as Isadora Duncan’s, but more romantic and less classical in detail. Miss Lada has an unusual sense of rhythm and the imaginative gift. She is light and graceful, temperamental and poetic.” During 1916-17, she danced with the Russian Symphony Orchestra on a thirty-five city American tour. On December 5, 1919, she appeared alone on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City. A New York Times reviewer called her “the latest of American pioneers in dancing, and the one on whom has descended their mantle.” Emily described her dancing this way: “My ideal of the dance is to show existence in grace, to show that life is after all capable of representation in the form of movement guided by poetry and beauty and inspired by the genius of music.” Schupp died in Bellevue on July 31, 1964. Read a much more complete biography of Schupp here.

Emily “Lada” Schupp photographed when she was a solo dancer for the Russian Symphony. (Image: Public Domain)

Workin’ on the Rail Road…book…

Thanks to everyone who turned out to Glensheen for our annual February of Wednesday night Zenith City on Taps—and of course thanks to Glensheen’s fantastic staff for hosting the event and making it free for anyone who wants to attend, and to Bellesio’s for bringing the beer and wine. Next year’s presentations will include “Prohibition…

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Millie Baker

Amelia Baker was born in Minnesota in December 1887. Her parents, either biological or foster parents (it’s not clear) were Alfred George Baker and Mary Ann Baker. Alfred was born in England in the 1840s. He immigrated to America around 1860 and fought in the Civil War on the Union side, serving in the 61st New…

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