La Meri

Person
Alternate Names:
Russell Meriwether Hughes
Dates
1899 Born
1988 Died
Biography
La Meri was a pioneer in the field of ethnic dance, specializing in Spanish, Mexican and Indian dance forms.  She was born Russell Meriwether Hughes in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to San Antonio, Texas as a child.  While in Texas, she was inspired by performances by Anna Pavlova, La Argentina, and the Ballet Russes and decided to become a dancer. She began her dance career in the company of Spanish dancer Maria Montero in New York City in 1928. After performing in Mexico she adopted the name La Meri as a permanent stage name and began touring the world to widespread acclaim. Her tours encompassed South and Central America, Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, India, Burma, Malaya, Java, the Philippines, China, Japan, Ceylon and Hawaii. With Ruth St. Denis, she established the School of Natya  in New York in 1940 where she taught Indian dance. She renamed the school the Ethnological Dance Center in 1943 and it was open until 1956. She was also a frequent performer and teacher at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, where she first performed in 1940. Her Pillow appearances were varied and many, encompassing virtually every season until her retirement in the 1960s. She was a major cornerstone of the Pillow’s faculty for decades, and she served as a longtime member of the Board of Directors. Retiring to Cape Cod, La Meri continued to write and produced ethnic dance festivals from 1970 until 1979 at the Ethnic Dance Arts organization.  She published her autobiography entitled Dance Out the Answer in 1977.  In 1984 she moved back to San Antonio and died in 1988.
Pillow Significance
Faculty, performer
Related Productions
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Alarippu (choreographer)
Alarippu (choreographer)
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Bedjojo (choreographer)
Carabali (choreographer)
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Chethat-al-Selah (choreographer)
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Contrasts in Indic Technique (dancer)
Creation, The (dancer)
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Exotic Gesture Dances (dancer)
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Hula (dancer)
Iberia (dancer)
Indo-American Gesture Songs (dancer)
Intermezzo from Goyescas (choreographer)
Intermezzo from Goyescas (dancer)
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Jota de Concierto (choreographer)
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La Corrida (dancer)
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La Jota (dancer)
Las Morenas (dancer)
Las Morenas (choreographer)
La Solitarin (dancer)
Las Sevillanas (choreographer)
Lasyanatana (dancer)
Lasyanatana (dancer)
Lasyantana; Indo-American Gesture Songs (dancer)
Latin American Suite (dancer)
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Leyenda (dancer)
Leyenda (dancer)
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Manipuri (choreographer)
Marwari Kathak (dancer)
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The Meeting (dancer)
The Meeting (dancer)
The Mevlevi Dervish (dancer)
Nasu to Kabocha (choreographer)
On Stage Dressing Room (choreographer)
Pheasant Feathers (choreographer)
Pheasant Feathers (choreographer)
Plains Indian Sign Talk Songs (choreographer)
Radha (dancer)
Rhumba (dancer)
Rhumba (dancer)
Rhumba (choreographer)
Salutation (choreographer)
Scene from Lakme (dancer)
Scheherazade (dancer)
Sita's Journey (dancer)
Slendang (Java) (dancer)
The Song of Songs (dancer)
Tamborito (dancer)
Three Eastern Dances (dancer)
Three Flamenco Dances (choreographer)
Three Flamenco Dances (Alegrias, Zapateado, Bulerias) (choreographer)
Three Kandian Devil Dances (The Snake, The Elephant, The Eagle) (dancer)
Three South Indian Dances (dancer)
Three Story Dances (Pheasant Feathers, The Meeting, Hooheno Keia) (dancer)
Three Worship Songs (Holy, Holy, Holy, Eli, Eli, Eli, The Creation) (dancer)
Tillana (choreographer)
Tillana (choreographer)
Tonadilla Suite (choreographer)
Two Arabian Dances (Greeting, The Meeting) (choreographer)
Two Arabic Dances (dancer)
Two Dances (dancer)
Two Gesture Songs (dancer)
Two Peruvian Dances (dancer)
Two Peruvian Dances (dancer)
Two Peruvian Dances (Huayno, Marinera) (dancer)
Variations on a Theme (choreographer)
Yaravi (dancer)
The Young Prince and the Young Princess (dancer)
Zephyr and Flora (dancer)
Related collections
Correspondence
Festival Artist Programs, Bios and Correspondence 1953
La Meri / Bill Adams Collection
Related Works
Alegrias (choreographer)
Amar Kara (choreographer)
Bach-Bharate Suite (choreographer)
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The Peacock (dancer)
Rhumba (dancer)
Sajembara (dancer)
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Serenata (choreographer)
Slendang (dancer)
Svara Karanas (dancer)
Swan Lake (dancer)
Three Two-Part Inventions (choreographer)
Variations on a Theme (choreographer)
Yein Pwe (choreographer)
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