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Eve Gentry



Honored June 1989

Henrietta 'Eve' Gentry

I always wanted to dance, but I was such a shy child that I never told anyone," said Eve Gentry. "I was also very skinny, and I wouldn't eat. My mother decided that maybe if I took dancing, I'd get an appetite. She didn't realize I was going to get an appetite to dance."

The youngest of five children, Henrietta Greenhood was born in Los Angeles in 1909. She took the professional name Eve Gentry in 1942, on marrying her childhood friend, Bruce Gentry, a printer and publisher. Eve's parents both left Europe as teenagers in the 1880s and met when her father came to the door selling Singer sewing machines. They married in Buffalo, New York and moved to Los Angeles and later San Bernardino, California, because Eve's mother suffered from asthma.

Eve was eight when she began studying ballet, folk, and ballroom dancing "from a peroxide-dyed blonde, young girl from Hollywood," who came to San Bernardino on Saturdays, she said. "1 decided I would be a dancer, although I had no idea what it meant to be a dancer. I'd never seen a real dancer. I just focused all of my attention on dancing."

She was in high school when an established Russian ballet teacher from Hollywood came to San Bernardino to teach a class and offered Eve a scholarship to come to Hollywood to live and study.

Her parents didn't want their youngest child to leave home, so she took classes in Hollywood on Saturdays -- until she refused to come home.

Two siblings were living in San Francisco, and her parents consented to a move. Eve became quite taken with modern dance and was teaching in Palo Alto when Martha Graham came to perform. Eve auditioned for Graham, who offered her a scholarship.

In October 1936, Eve arrived in New York. Her brother took her to Hanya Holm's studio, and Holm invited Eve to audition. She "started the very next day" and was a principal performer with the Hanya Holm Dance Company from 1936 to 1942. Eve directed her own dance company from 1944 to 1968.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes