Enters, Angna, 1897-1989

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Dancer, mime, actress, painter, designer, and writer; New York, N.Y. Born New York, N.Y., raised Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Year of birth commonly given as 1907; however Enters graduated from high school in 1915 as Anita Irene Enters.

From the description of Angna Enters greeting cards and printed material, 1943-1967 1958-1967 (bulk dates). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122396949

American-born dancer, mime, painter, and writer, Angna Enters was a unique performer in the world of modern and theatrical dance.

From the description of Paintings, 1940-1970. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 748678170

Correspondence to Lewis Mumford from Angna Enters and her husband, Louis Kalonyme.

From the description of Letters, 1960-1961, to Lewis Mumford. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155868132

American concert dancer-mime, writer, visual artist, composer.

From the description of Correspondence, 1921-1973. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122519427

American-born dancer, mime, painter, and writer, Angna Enters (1897-1989) was a unique performer in the world of modern and theatrical dance.

Formally trained in design, Enters moved to New York to continue her art studies and met the dancer Michio Itō, with whom she began studying in 1920. Dropping her real name, Anita Enters, she adopted her stage name and soon began appearing in concerts as his partner. Her work with Itō led to an appearance in a Broadway revue, the Pinwheel Revel (1922), which featured her first choreography, Ecclésiastique. Initially conceived as a group dance, Enters later transformed the earlier piece into Moyen Age (1926), which became one of her signature works. Enters produced her first solo performance in 1924 and began touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe with her program, which became more formally known as The Theater of Angna Enters during the mid-1930s. Difficult to describe, Enters' vast repertory grew to include over 250 different solo character vignettes. For each composition, Enters would design a costume to represent a specific character, choose a piece of music (often arranging or composing the music herself), and create or select her own props. Although she continued to perform into the late 1960s, Enters' stage career declined in the postwar years and she curtailed her touring schedule considerably after 1939. She took up residence in California and began to pursue scriptwriting as a profession, working for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio until the early 1950s. A prolific author who worked in many genres, Enters published several books including, First Person Plural (1937), Love Possessed Juana (1939), Silly Girl (1944), Among the Daughters (1955), An Artist's Life (1958), and On Mime (1960), all of which she also illustrated. An avid painter and sculptor, Enters exhibited her paintings throughout her life, even during her long years of active touring. Recognized as a master teacher, Enters began teaching mime for actors during the 1950s at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and lectured at several universities in her later years.

Certain aspects of Enter's personal life remain unclear. In 1921 she met journalist Louis Kantor, who wrote frequently on modern art and drama under the name, Louis Kalonyme. He helped to edit Enters' writing and appears to have collaborated with her on certain projects, including an English translation of Edmond Rostand's play, Chantecler (1960). Enters and Kaloynme began a clandestine relationship in 1924 and were married in Spain in 1936, although the marriage remained a secret through an elaborate subterfuge until Enters acknowledged it many years after Kalonyme's death in 1961. From 1965 to 1968 she lived as a hostess and a travel companion with her life-long friend, retired film executive Albert Lewin, following the death of his wife.

From the description of Angna Enters papers, 1920-1989 (bulk ca. 1930-1973) (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 79418812

Angna Enters was born on April 18, 1897 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her real name was Anita Enters, which she changed into Angna [ahnjna] in the early 20s. She moved to New York as an art student and began to study dance with Michio Ito in 1920. Soon she was performing in concerts as Michio's partner. In March of 1924 Enters produced her first evening of solo performance. In the following years until 1939 she toured the US and Europe on a permanent basis presenting her program called The Theatre of Angna Enters. After 1939 she continued to give performances until late 1960s.

During this period of touring, Enters was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study Greek mime, art and music forms. She exhibited her paintings, as continued to do in following decades, and published her first autobiographical volume, First Person Plural in 1937. In 1939, she published her popular play, Love Possessed Juana, co-written with Louis Kalonyme.

Although she continued to perform into advanced age, Enters' stage career declined in the postwar years. She took up residence in California and began to pursue scriptwriting as a profession. Her account of these years, published in Silly Girl in 1944, reached the best seller list. She would go on to publish Among the Daughters (1955), Artist's Life (1958), and On Mime (1965).

After Louis Kalonyme's death in June of 1961 Enters accepted an invitation to be an artist-in-residence to the Dallas Theatre Center and Baylor University for the 1961-62 school year. She taught mime there, and spent next school year at the Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The book On Mime was the result of these years.

From 1965 to 1968 she lived as a hostess and a travel companion with her life-long friend, retired film producer Albert Lewin, whose wife died in 1965.

In 1970-71 school year she was again an artist-in-residence at Pennsylvania State University, during which she gave her last known public performance.

In 1974 she suffered a physical collapse and was moved to a nursing home. Angna Enters died on February 25, 1989 in a nursing home in Manhattan.

From the guide to the Angna Enters correspondence, 1921-1973, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Angna Enters was born Anita Enters, April 18, 1897 to Edward W. Enters and Henriette Gasseur-Styleau, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1924, she changed her name to Angna and began using 1907 as her birth year.

Enters graduated from North Division High School in Milwaukee, in 1915. That same year, she saw the first Denishawn concert tour, and in 1916, the first American tour of Diaghilev’s Les Ballets Russes. In June of 1916, Enters enrolled in Milwaukee State Normal School, a school that “intended to train teachers of drawing, design, and the manual art; to develop the appreciation and practice of the fine arts; and to create skilled workers in the applied arts.” Her special area was design, including commercial design, illustration, lettering and interior decoration.

Angna Enters registered for the Art Students League in October 1919. Taking a nightly illustration course, she worked in an advertising agency during the day. A friend from Milwaukee introduced her to Michio Ito. By the spring of 1920, she had abandoned the Art Students League, but continued working as a commercial artist and studying with Ito, a student of the Dalcroze-Eurythmics method.

In 1921 she met journalist Louis Kantor. The two were re-introduced in 1924 and began a secretive dating relationship, which led to a secret marriage in Spain in 1936. They kept separate living spaces and traveled separately in Europe. individual… “To create the illusion of a staff and to provide a disinterested persona between Enters and the world, she and Kalonyme invented a secretary to whom they gave her mother’s maiden name, Henriette Stylow. This device enabled Kalonyme to deal with Enters’ business correspondence when she was unavailable without revealing his presence in her affairs. “Henriette Stylow” was also used as an accommodation addressee for the constant exchange of letters between Enters and Kalonyme when either was out of the city…The reason why they never lived openly as a married couple in the United States may never be entirely clear…both Enters and Kalonyme had reputations of being extremely shy and reserved, and each had created a public persona to protect the private Not until Kalonyme’s final illness in 1961, however, did he allow Enters to be recognized as his wife.

Kantor changed his name to Louis Kalonyme in 1924 and began writing critically about art for Arts and Decoration magazine. Kalonyme was friends with many independent thinkers of the day: Eugene O’Neill, George Bernard Shaw, and Georgia O’Keefe to name just a few. The couple did not have any children and Kalonyme died in 1961 after a long illness.

In 1924 Enters produced her first solo performance. From 1924 until 1939, she toured both the United States and Europe with her program, The Theater of Angna Enters. “She was probably the first, and certainly one of the very few, of her generation of American dancers to make a career exclusively on the concert stage.” After 1939 her constant touring schedule subsided, but she continued to perform through the 1960s.

Enters was a prolific artist. Many of her sketches and paintings were exhibited in the United States and Europe, sometimes the exhibitions coordinated with the weeks of her performances. Her sketches were often costume designs for characters of her mime performances, as well as set designs for plays.

Enters authored many books, including her fictionalized autobiography series: First Person Plural (1937), Silly Girl; A portrait of personal remembrance (1944), and An Artists Life (1958). In 1939 she co-authored with Louis Kalonyme a play: Love Possessed Juana (1939). Houghton Mifflin rejected Enters’ original title for her fourth book, A Thing of Beauty, when the company decided not to publish for fear of the story being banned. Coward McCann published the book intact under the new title, Among the Daughters: a novel in 1955. On Mime (1966) was about her method, practice and teaching of mime. The New York Times review put it this way, “a spontaneous, highly individual and persuasive reflection of her art and artistry.” All five books included illustrations from Enters’ sketches and paintings.

Enters teaching career began as an instructor at the Stella Adler School beginning in 1957 and ending in 1960. After her husband’s death in 1961, she accepted an invitation to be an artist-in-residence at the Dallas Theatre Center. While there she taught classes on mime at Baylor University. The following school year, 1962-1963, Enters taught at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The material from these courses was compiled to create her book On Mime . She was again an artist-in-residence during the 1970-71 school year at the University of Pennsylvania. Her last know public performance was given there.

From 1976 until her death in February 1989, Angna Enters had lived in several nursing homes in the New York metropolitan area.

From the guide to the Angna Enters papers, 1920-1989, ca. 1930-1973, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Angna Enters was born on April 18, 1897 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her real name was Anita Enters, which she changed into Angna [ahnjna] in the early 20s. She moved to New York as an art student and began to study dance with Michio Ito in 1920. Soon she was performing in concerts as Michio's partner. In March of 1924 Enters produced her first evening of solo performance. In the following years until 1939 she toured the US and Europe on a permanent basis presenting her program called The Theatre of Angna Enters. After 1939 she continued to give performances until late 1960s.

During this period of touring, Enters was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study Greek mime, art and music forms. She exhibited her paintings, as continued to do in following decades, and published her first autobiographical volume, First Person Plural in 1937. In 1939, she published her popular play, Love Possessed Juana, co-written with Louis Kalonyme.

Although she continued to perform into advanced age, Enters' stage career declined in the postwar years. She took up residence in California and began to pursue scriptwriting as a profession. Her account of these years, published in Silly Girl in 1944, reached the best seller list. She would go on to publish Among the Daughters (1955), Artist's Life (1958), and On Mime (1965).

After Louis Kalonyme's death in June of 1961 Enters accepted an invitation to be an artist-in-residence to the Dallas Theatre Center and Baylor University for the 1961-62 school year. She taught mime there, and spent next school year at the Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The book On Mime was the result of these years.

From 1965 to 1968 she lived as a hostess and a travel companion with her life-long friend, retired film producer Albert Lewin, whose wife died in 1965.

In 1970-71 school year she was again an artist-in-residence at Pennsylvania State University, during which she gave her last known public performance.

In 1974 she suffered a physical collapse and was moved to a nursing home. Angna Enters died on February 25, 1989 in a nursing home in Manhattan.

From the guide to the Letters to Edward L. Berman, 1933-1946, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Vienna-Provincial : colored pencil sketch, [1945, ca.Dec 31], Beverly Hills, Cal. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Angna Enters [ca. 1930-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1930-1945. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Angna Enters papers, 1920-1989, ca. 1930-1973 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
referencedIn Moore, Lillian. Scrapbooks. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Angna Enters papers, 1920-1989 (bulk ca. 1930-1973) New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Letters to Edward L. Berman, 1933-1946 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Spewack, Samuel and Bella. Papers, ca.1920-1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts. Belknap Collection, Theatre 1936- : Pantomime. University of Florida
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Angna Enters : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Toscanini, Walter, 1898-1971,. The Walter Toscanini Collection of research materials in dance: Elssler. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Miscellaneous manuscripts. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Letter, 1960 May 5, New York, to Lillian Moore, New York. [1] p. on 1 l. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Angna Enters correspondence, 1921-1973 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf Roberts, Mary Fanton, 1871-1956. Mary Fanton Roberts papers, 1880-1956. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Conroy, Jack, 1899-. Letter, 1963 Aug. 6, Midlothian, Ill., to Don Roscher, Chicago. University of Michigan
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Paintings, 1940-1970. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Enters, A. : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Correspondence, 1921-1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Angna Enters greeting cards and printed material, 1943-1967 1958-1967 (bulk dates). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Letters, 1960-1961, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Scrapbook: Clippings, photographs and programs, New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1965 (bulk 1920-1960). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. Ellen Van Volkenburg-Maurice Browne general correspondence, 1911- University of Michigan
referencedIn Herman, Andrew. Angna Enters [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1955-1958. University of Pennsylvania Library
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Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
United States
Subject
Designer
Performance artists
Manuscripts (Letters)
Women authors--United States--20th century
Mimes--20th century
Art, American
Painters
Manuscripts--Collections
Women authors--20th century
Women artists
Women painters--20th century
Women dancers--United States--20th century
Women choreographers--United States--20th century
Women screenwriters--United States--20th century
Women screenwriters--20th century
Women dancers--20th century
Watercolorists
Mimes--United States--20th century
Art--American (?)--Reproductions
Women choreographers--20th century
Women painters--United States--20th century
Occupation
Mimes
Screenwriters
Dancers
Women dancers
Women composers
Authors
Painter
Choreographer
Function

Person

Birth 1897-04-18

Death 1989-02-25

Americans

English,

German,

French,

Spanish; Castilian

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