Shawn, Ted Letters to Barton Mumaw 1940-1971
Biographical History: Barton Mumaw
Barton Mumaw, born August 20, 1912 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania but raised in Eustis, Florida, started dance training in his hometown, taking part in infrequently offered ballet and modern dance classes, as well as dance correspondence classes through the mail. After seeing the Denishawn troup perform during a Florida tour, he went to New York to take the 1930 summer course at the Denishawn School. After New York, he returned to Orlando, Florida to study music at the Rollins College. In 1931, Mumaw left rollins to become Ted Shawn's chauffer and dresser, and a member of Denishawn, in exchange for tuition, board, and meals. When Denishawn disbanded in 1932, Mumaw followed Shawn to Becket, Massachusetts, to the farm later called Jacob's Pillow. Their relationship was as fellow dancers, choreographers, lovers, and companions. In 1933, Shawn put together an all-male touring group called Ted Shawn's Men Dancers. Mumaw created many leading roles in the company as for seven years, the troup travelled across the United States and Canada. Mumaw not only danced in Shawn's choreographies, but also created many of his own. With the approach of World War II, Ted Shawn's Men Dancers was disbanded and Mumaw launched a solo recital tour, which continued even in the armed forces where he served as an Entertainment Specialist from 1942-1946. Mumaw worked from 1948-1958 in the world of musical theater, performing on Broadway and in touring musicals such as Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, The Golden Apple, and My Fair Lady. Mumaw's connection with Ted Shawn and Jacob's Pillow continued as he performed and taught at the summer dance camp. In 1973, Mumaw recontructed Shawn's Kinetic Molpai for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Working with the former Denishawn dancer, Jane Sherman, Mumaw published his biography, entitled Barton Mumaw, Dancer: from Denishawn to Jacob's Pillow and Beyond. In 1991, he coached revivals for a Shawn centennial program know as Jacob's Pillow's Men Dancers, performed at New York City's Joyce Theater and toured nationally. He died in Clearwater, Florida June 18, 2001.