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Lew Christensen / Gisella Caccialanza Papers

- Biographical Information

Biographical Information

Lew Christensen was born in Brigham City, Utah on May 9, 1909. He a was dancer, choreographer, teacher and ballet director. Christensen was married to Gisella Caccialanza.

Christensen studied dance with his uncle Peter Christensen, Stefano Mascagno, L. Albertieri, and at the School of the American Ballet.

Christensen appeared in vaudeville with his brothers Harold and Willam, In 1935 he became a member of the American Ballet with which he danced the title roles In "Orpheus" and "Apollo". He worked with the Ballet Caravan (1936-1940) and the Dance Players (1941-1942). After war service he joined the Ballet Society (1946-1948). He also worked with the New York City Ballet. In 1951 he became the director and principal choeographer for the San Francisco Ballet. Lew, Harold, and Willam are cited in the "Dictionary of Modern Ballet" as the founders of the San Francisco Ballet.

Lew choeographed Charade, Filling Station, Pocahantas, Encounter, Jinx, Black Face, Con Amore, the (full-length) Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast, Danses Concertantes, Shadows, Sinfonia, Divertissement d'Auber, and other ballets.

He died in San Francisco on October 9, 1984.

She studied dance with Enrico Cecchetti at La Scala, Milan, Italy and at the School of the American Ballet.

She danced leading roles in a number of ballets including Serenade, Alma Mater, Le Baiser de la Fee, The Spellbound Child, and Four Temperaments.


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