Saida Gerrard

Saida Gerrard (1913-2005) was born in Toronto, Canada. In 1930, she moved to New York to study with Hanya Holm at the Mary Wigman School, and from 1943-1948, she studied under Martha Graham. In 1945, she joined the Charles Weidman Company where she performed as a principal dancer on multiple East Coast and national tours and festivals.

In 1953, she moved to Los Angeles with her husband. Once in Southern California, she began teaching at a large number of schools and institutions including: USC, UCLA, Idyllwild Arts Festival, Los Angeles City College, the University of Judaism, Pasadena City College, and multiple other colleges and high schools.

Her 30 member company, the Saida Gerrard Theater Dance Company, performed at local venues from 1953-1960, and completed  West Coast tours from 1960-1964. In 1964 she choreographed Don Giovanni, the Los Angeles Opera’s (then the Los Angeles Civic Grand Opera) first production. From 1957-1970 she directed the Saida Gerrard School of Contemporary Dance, which taught classes to adults, children, singers, and actors.

Gerrard temporarily relocated to Aspen, Colorado from 1970-1977 where she taught, danced, studied, and choreographed. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she began a new company, the Saida Gerrard Heritage Dance Company, which produced works focused on Jewish heritage. She also resumed teaching at the University of Judaism where she served as the chairwoman of the Modern Dance Department. She also taught at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University. Gerrard continued to perform and choreograph until her retirement in 1989.

Further Reading:

Saida Gerrard papers, Collection no. 0341, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

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Categorized as: ARTIST, Choreographer, Dancer, Modern, Teacher/Educator