Patricia Bowman : Great Classical Ballerina Extraordinaire

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Patricia Bowman American dancer and teacher. Bowman was the star of musicals and occasionally the ballerina of a company. She successfully bridged two eras of ballet, two worlds of dance. She had the training and attributes of a classical ballerina and gave the large public of popular entertainment a hint of what tasteful ballet is.


Patricia Bowmen (December 12, 1908 – March 18, 1999). Renowned as an American ballerina, ballroom dancer, musical theatre actress, television personality.  Alongside her illustrious career, she imparted her knowledge and passion for dance as a revered teacher.

SheS She appeared in cinema-house stage shows and Broadway musicals, and with ballet companies and symphony orchestras; all the while she was an uncompromising classical dancer. In the manner of her day she often arranged her own dances, designed the costumes, and chose the music; but dances were also choreographed for her by Michel Fokine, Léonide Massine and Mikhail Mordkin for her appearances in vaudeville or ballet companies.

Patricia Bowman

Study and Professional career

Patricia Bowman studied dance in Washington, D.C., with Paul Tchernikoff and Lisa Gardiner, alumni of the Anna Pavlova Company. In New York she studied intensively with Fokine, later in Europe with Nikolai Legat, Lubov Egorova, and Margarete Wallmann.


Professional career

Her professional career started in 1920. Patricia Bowman embarked on her illustrious professional journey in 1920, gracing the stages of George White’s Scandals with her talent. Her prowess extended beyond conventional boundaries as she dazzled audiences in Lewisohn Stadium and toured with a troupe led by the esteemed Michel and Vera Fokine during the summer of 1927.

Following a brief interlude partnered with Tony DeMarco for ballroom dancers, Bowman returned to her first love, ballet. It was a pivotal year for her as she ascended to the position of prima ballerina, captivating audiences first at the Strand Theater and then at the prestigious Roxy in New York City. Her second year at the Roxy was marked by collaboration with the renowned Massine, who choreographed and shared the stage with her, solidifying her legacy as a consummate artist in the realm of dance.

Dance Partner of Patricia Bowman

Radio City Music Hall opened, Bowman was a prima ballerina, and she held that position on and off for the next eight years. One of her most popular dances there was based on the nineteenth-century La Sylphide. Patricia Bowman graced the stages with her remarkable talent and grace. Partnering with esteemed names like Daks, and Charles Laskey, and frequently collaborating with Paul Haakon, Bowman left an indelible mark on the dance world.

In 1938, she captivated audiences as a member of the Mordkin Ballet in New York City, showcasing her versatility in iconic productions such as Swan Lake, Giselle, The Goldfish, and Voices of Spring during nationwide tours. The following year, she mesmerized spectators at the Lewisohn Stadium with her performances in a program featuring Fokine ballets such as Schéhérazade, Le Spectre de la Rose, and Tennis, further solidifying her status as a luminary in the realm of dance.

Ballerina of Ballet

Ballet dancers, often referred to as ballerinas (for female dancers), are highly trained performers who specialize in the art of ballet. Ballerinas perform in ballet productions, which can range from classical story ballets like “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” to contemporary works by modern choreographers. They may perform solo roles, duets, or as part of an ensemble.

Patricia Bowman was prima ballerina of Ballet Theatre’s first season, 1940. In 1941 she returned to musicals, partnered by Haakon or George Zoritch. For the next sixteen years, Bowman danced in theaters all over the United States, Canada, and London in musicals and operettas, as a guest artist with symphony orchestras, and as the star of stage shows in cinema theaters. For many summers she danced principal roles in operettas in the Saint Louis Municipal Opera and the Dallas Starlight Theater.

Award and honor

In the late 1940s, she was a guest artist with the Chicago Opera, dancing Ruth Page’s choreography in Lakmé, Carmen, and Halka. Dance critic Jack Anderson described her as “the first American ballerina to win critical acclaim and wide popularity as a classical and a musical-theater dancer. In 1957 Patricia Bowman retired to teach until 1977, when she married Albert Kaye, moved to Nevada, and became a consultant to a ballet group.

See also : Josephine Baker

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