Eve Gentry was a modern dancer born in the early 1900’s. By 1917 she began to study ballet, folk and ballroom dancing. In 1936 she moved to New York City where she began her dance career with the Hanya Holm Company. In 1938 she choreographed Tenant of the Street, her most famous dance piece. By 1940 Eve and 3 others founded the Dance Notation Bureau. She was the first to teach Labanotation, a notation system for recording and analyzing human movement. She married her childhood love Bruce Gentry in 1944 and chose the professional name Eve Gentry, formerly Henrietta Greenhood.
Eve directed her dance company from 1944-1968. She also worked as a faculty member for the High School for the Performing Arts and the New York University School of the Arts.
Chronic back and knee issues led her to Joseph Pilates’ studio where she worked as a teacher with Joseph Pilates from 1938 until 1968.
In 1955 Eve had a radical mastectomy, and she turned to Joe for help. The surgery had removed so much muscle she couldn’t lift her arms. With Joe’s help she was able to return to dance within a year. Eve and Joe made an incredible video of their work together in her rehabilitation. Her recovery through the Pilates method was so unbelievable that when Joe presented it to the doctors in hopes to forming an alliance they didn’t believe the video was real.
In 1968 Eve moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she founded a dance studio and a Pilates studio with equipment Joe had given her. She choreographed and danced in Stravinsky’s La Rossignol with the Santa Fe Opera and at age 63 danced in Jose Limon’s Villa Lobos Yerma. In 1991 she co-founded The Institute for Pilates Method.
With a career that spanned more than 50 years Eve was a dancer, teacher and choreographer for stage, film and television. She was honored in 1979 by Bennington College (in Vermont!) with the Pioneer of Modern Dance award and was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure. She was an incredible woman, who lived an incredible life. In 1994 she died at age 84.