Gemze de Lappe has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional dancer, director, and teacher from Ballet to Broadway. As a child, her earliest dance training was in Duncan Dance with Irma Duncan in New York City, from which she has drawn throughout her remarkable career. She studied and performed with the great ballet choreographer Mikhail Fokine during her teens, and ultimately became Agnes de Mille’s leading female dancer, interpreting well-loved roles such as “Laurey” in Oklahoma!. Dancing with ABT in the 1940’s, Gemze danced with ballerinas Nora Kaye and Alicia Alonso. In the 1950’s she worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins in the movie version of the King and I dancing as Simon Le Gree in the dance sequence, danced in Paint Your Wagon, and other musicals.
In the 1970’s with the resurgence of interest in the style of dance created by Isadora Duncan, Gemze de Lappe emerged as one of a handful of authentically trained Duncan dancers. A former artist-in-residence in dance at Smith College who taught Duncan Dance, Ballet, Musical Theatre Dance, de Lappe has gone on to stage de Mille repertoire (Oklahoma! and Carousel) internationally, reconstruct de Mille’s ballets, and assist on the writing of de Mille’s biography.