Ted Shawn (21 October 1891 — 9 January 1972), originally Edwin Myers Shawn, was one of the first notable male pioneers of American modern dance. Along with creating Denishawn with former wife Ruth St. Denis he is also responsible for the creation of the well known all-male company Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers. With his innovative ideas of masculine movement he is one of the most influential choreographers and dancers of his day. He is also the founder and creator of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts.
Ted Shawn was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 21, 1891, at 10:39 . Originally intending to become a minister of religion, he attended the University of Denver. There he caught diphtheria, which led him to take up dance in 1910 to regain his muscle strength. Shawn's dancing was discouraged by the University, which still had a Methodist affiliation, and was the cause of his expulsion the following year.
Shawn did not realize his true potential as an artist until marrying Ruth St. Denis in 1914. St. Denis served not only as partner but an extremely valuable creative outlet to Shawn. Soon after their marriage the couple opened the first Denishawn School in Los Angeles, California, where they were able to choreograph and stage many of their famous vaudeville pieces. The following year Shawn launched a cross-country tour with his dance partner, Norma Gould, and their Interpretive Dancers. Notable performances choreographed by him during Denishawn’s 17-year run include Julnar of the Sea, Xochitl and Les Mysteres Dionysiaques. The school and company went on to produce such influential dancers as Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman..