Flowers, Verla

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Although she had numerous accomplishments of her own, pioneering Seattle dance teacher, choreographer and dancer, Verla Flowers (1913-2002), is best remembered through her association with her most famous student, Mark Morris.

Flowers, who grew up in Seattle's North End and attended the West Woodland School and Ballard High School, first learned dancing from her mother, Augusta (who later would be a social dancing instructor at the Cornish School). Her dance training was eclectic. Among her earliest teachers was Hamilton Douglas, who appeared on the Pantages Circuit and often presented his troupe of Douglas Teenie Weenies at local movie theaters. Flowers attended the Cornish School of Allied Arts during the period in which Welland Lathrop was the head of the dance department and studied under Mary Wigman acolyte, Lore Deja. She performed in a number of styles as a member of the Cornish Dancers and she would teach tap dancing at Cornish for a period following her graduation. Among her first forays into professional teaching was at a music school started by her former Ballard High School music teacher, Vern D. Delaney, in 1931. Flowers was running her own dance studio, Verla Flowers School of the Dance, out of her family home by 1935. She would have two additional schools (in the Columbia City neighborhood and Lake Forest Park) by the early 1940s. Around this same time, Flowers married Ted Halladay, with whom she would raise a daughter, Wendy. By the early 1950s, she had opened Verla Flowers Dance Arts in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. The school offered a wide variety of dance forms, including ballet, ballroom, jazz, Hawaiian and Spanish. This extensive program attracted a number of pupils, many of whom went on to professional careers. The prodigious Morris began studying Spanish dance with Flowers at the age of nine and continued as her student until he was seventeen. Verla Flowers Dance Arts operated through 1990, when Flowers retired from teaching.

From the description of Verla Flowers scrapbook, 1921-1942. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 229171041

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Flowers, Verla [clippings] New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Flowers, Verla. Verla Flowers scrapbook, 1921-1942. University of Washington Libraries
creatorOf Flowers, Verla,. Mark Morris collection, 1965-1995. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Ballard High School (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Bolm, Adolf, 1884-1951 person
associatedWith Cornish, Nellie Centennial, 1876-1956 person
associatedWith Cornish School of Allied Arts (Seattle, Wash.) corporateBody
associatedWith Deja, Lore. person
associatedWith Delaney, Verner Dail. person
associatedWith Douglas, Hamilton, dance teacher. person
associatedWith Flowers, Augusta. person
associatedWith Halloween Sisters. corporateBody
associatedWith Lathrop, Welland person
associatedWith Mark Morris Dance Group. corporateBody
associatedWith Monnaie Dance Group/Mark Morris. corporateBody
associatedWith Morris, Mark, 1956- person
associatedWith Verla Flowers Dance Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith White Oak Dance Project. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Phinney Ridge (Seattle, Wash.)
Washington (State)--Seattle
Seattle (Wash.)
United States
Greenwood (Seattle, Wash.)
West Woodland (Seattle, Wash.)
Subject
Choreographers--Biography
Choreographers--20th century
Dance--20th century
Women tap dancers--20th century
Dance--Study and teaching--20th century
Women choreographers--20th century
Dance teachers--20th century
Dancers--Scrapbooks
Women dancers--20th century
Occupation
Dance teachers--United States
Collector
Function

Person

Active 1921

Active 1942

English,

German

Information

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Ark ID: w69w38dd

SNAC ID: 34279507