Agnes De Mille
Class of 1926
She moved audiences by making dance matter.
American choreographer and innovator in the field, Agnes de Mille’s legacy can still be felt on the stage and screen to this day. She came to UCLA to study English and obtain a strong liberal arts education. Graduating Cum Laude at just 19, here she gained a deep respect for teaching and found a love for the humanities-especially great literature. Storytelling and a passion for instruction would become defining attributes to her approach. Before de Mille, dance was mostly spectacle. After de Mille, through her works like Rodeo, Oklahoma and Carousel, dance became an intricate part of the narrative. Her choreography not only conveyed the emotional dimensions of the characters, it enhanced the plot. The way her dancers moved reflected their inner angst and turmoil, instead of simply focusing on a dancer’s physical technique. She moved dancers in new ways, and in turn, moved audiences.