Livia Drapkin Vanaver has been traveling throughout the US and abroad with her musician/composer husband Bill Vanaver and Company of dancers and musicians (The Vanaver Caravan), collecting and performing traditional dance and music from many cultures utilizing traditional sources in the creation of original works for diverse audiences. Her commitment to cultivating community through the vehicle of dance has lead her to work with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation in their Balkan Peace and Reconciliation Project in Eastern Europe and with families of the victims of 9/11.
Ms. Vanaver holds a BFA in Dance from NYU School of the Arts (Tisch). She was a member of Fred Berk’s Hebraica Dancers at the 92nd Street Y from 1966-72. For over thirty years, she has been on the cutting edge of arts-in-education programs. She is on the faculty of the Academy for the Love of Learning. Livia teaches dance at Columbia University in the Graduate Theater Program. She has worked closely with Jane Sherman, former Denishawn dancer, who recreated ten dances of Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn for The Vanaver Caravan. Jane’s spirit and guidance continues to inspire their work.
All Ruth St. Denis dances were recreated by Jane Sherman with generous funding from the NYSCA Dance Program. Jane Sherman, (1908 – 2010): born in Beloit, Wisconsin. She was the youngest member of the Denishawn Dancers on their tours of the Orient and the United States from 1925 to 1928, when she joined the first Humphrey-Weidman company. She is the author of Soaring; The Drama of Denishawn Dance; Denishawn: The Enduring Influence; and coauthor of Barton Mumaw, Dancer. On videotape, she preserved for posterity the largest St. Denis-Denishawn repertoire in exisitence. She re-created programs for Denishawn Repertory Dancers’ concerts in France and the U.S., and revived Denishawn works for The Martha Graham Company, The Philadelphia Dance Theatre, The Vanaver Caravan, and others.