Peabody Dance was born in December 1914 when the Peabody Institute decided to offer classes in Dalcroze Eurhythmics to teach musicians about music through movement of the body, says Melissa Stafford, the program’s director and department chair.
The first ongoing eurhythmics classes to be offered in the United States, they were taught by Portia Wager and then Ruth Lemmert, both of whom had studied under Emile Jaques-Dalcroze himself.Rachel Wallach, “Raising the Barre,” Peabody Post, Spring 2015.
Peabody was close, but not quite the first ongoing Eurhythmics class in the United States. The first was just over a year earlier, about 90 miles to the northeast.
On October 1, 1913, Placido de Montoliu started teaching 15 students at the newly-opened Phebe Anna Thorne Model School at Bryn Mawr College. Montoliu served as an assistant to Émile Jaques-Dalcroze for years before coming to the Thorne School in Pennsylvania and remained on faculty for nine years. Eurhythmics instruction continued at the Thorne School after his departure.
Placido de Montoliu is listed in the 1912-1913 Annual Report of the President of Bryn Mawr College page x, and the 1914 Bryn Mawr College Calendar, Volume VII, Part 2, March 1914, page 14, as an instructor for Jacques-Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and a graduate of the Jacques-Dalcroze College of Rhythmic Training, Hellerau, Germany. In the 1913-1914 President’s report, Señor Monotliu is listed as “Teacher of Jacques-Dalcroze Eurhythmics (Singing, Dancing),” which may be more notable, given that Bryn Mawr is a Quaker institution and the Quaker views of both singing and dancing
Interestingly, Placido de Montoliu came to Peabody on February 16, 1918, giving a demonstration of Eurhythmics at the Peabody Concert Hall, assisted by his wife and Ruth Lemmert.