Magazine article Dance Magazine

Estelle Sommers: An Appreciation

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Estelle Sommers: An Appreciation

Article excerpt

Born the seventh child of a loving family, Estelle Sommers lived a charmed life in Baltimore. When she discovered dance, it became her first love. Much later, when she lived in Cincinnati with her first husband and three daughters, she converted a moderately successful pieced-goods retail company into a dance-supply business and began to design ready-to-wear dance costumes. Her involvement with retail dancewear led to a meeting with Ben Sommers, at that time president of Capezio. Her marriage to Ben in 1962 was described in dance circles as "the romance of the decade," and it continued until his death in 1985.

They traveled everywhere in the name of dance. Ben spread the word that, through the international language of dance, peace and understanding could be achieved worldwide by breaking down all political and cultural barriers. Communication was no problem for Estelle; although she knew no foreign languages, her warmth and smile won everyone over. No dance event was complete without her presence--the International Ballet Competitions in Moscow, Varna, and Tokyo; International Dance Week in Seoul, Korea; Dame Alicia Markova's eightieth birthday celebration at the Royal Ballet in London; and countless other events.

Her Manhattan apartment became a second home to the Panovs, and would serve for receptions for Yuri Grigorovich of the Bolshoi Ballet, foreign dignitaries, and many dance organizations needing financial assistance. The United Nations could not meet under more gracious circumstances. Her Connecticut country house even became a weekend retreat for some twenty members of the Changmu Dance Company from Korea, most of whom did not speak English.

She conquered the hearts of all she met, and if titles were bestowed, hers would be "Empress of Dance." She devoted time and energy to serving on the boards of such philanthropic causes and organizations as: the National Advisory Council; International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi; International Dance Alliance (founded by Ben Sommers); and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.