MS Acc10.023 comprises two display folders containing letters and news clippings (mix of originals and photocopies) relating to Ruth Bergner's dance career including dance involvement in the Jewish community, dance photographs of Bergner (mostly copy prints rather than originals), and dance recital programs (1 packet).
Dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. Ruth Bergner was born in Vienna and, from the age of six, lived in Poland. She won a scholarship in 1933, aged 16, to dance with Tacjanna Wysocka's Dance Company. She was selected to tour to Italy with this company, performing various styles including folk and cabaret. On migrating to Australia in 1936, Bergner settled in Melbourne where she worked in factories to earn a living and was introduced to the Australian modern dance scene by Patricia Edie. She joined the Elizabeth Wiener Modern Dance Studio in 1939, performing her first solo choreographic work, The Sorrow. In 1947, she took part in Kathakali dance classes offered by visiting Indian dancer Shivaram at the National Theatre, and performed with him in Sydney, Perth and Fiji during his tour.
She then travelled to Europe, performing in Paris, Israel and London in a variety of styles including Hindu, Chinese, Russian and Hassidic character dance. Returning to Australia in 1951, Bergner taught and performed at the Ballet Guild in Melbourne. Here she choreographed and performed in The Wedding, a work inspired by a Breughel painting. During the1960s she travelled to Canada and the United States, where she again joined Shivaram on tour, attended classes with Martha Graham, and performed modern and character dances at Jewish cultural events. On her return to Sydney, Bergner continued teaching and performing. She performed with Shivaram at Monash University during his 1974 tour, and opened her own dance studio at the Savoy Theatre in Melbourne.