Dale Lefler was born in Nebraska, where he began studying with a former Denishawn dancer who took him to see a performance by Ted Shawn's Men Dancers in 1935. This experience inspired Lefler to come to the Pillow as a student the following year and thereby launch a professional career. He danced in touring companies, on Broadway, and at the 1939 New York World's Fair. He returned to the Pillow to study and perform in 1942, then served in the military for the remainder of World War II. After the war, he was under contract to MGM and danced in movies with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Esther Williams, Cyd Charisse, Lucille Ball, and many others. In 1954, he moved to Monterey, California, and operated Theatre Dance Showcase there for more than 30 years, serving as teacher, director, choreographer, dancer and costumer. After his death in February 2011 at the age of 96, the Pillow was fortunate to acquire some of his carefully saved memorabilia, including scrapbooks, a diary from his 1936 Pillow summer, programs, press clippings, and many unique photos.
Alumni of School at Jacob's Pillow