GLORY: A Life Among Legends

Honors colleagues, explores integrity, examines sexism and racism in the arts, and encourages the new generation.

Press release:

NEW YORK, NY, March 11, 2019 – In 1955, when Glory Van Scott was coming of age, her cousin Emmett Till was murdered – the aftereffects cementing a lifelong journey that would translate her anger and grief into her passion for dance, theater and education. In GLORY: A Life Among Legends, the renowned dancer and producer tells her story about the excitement, adventures and challenges of participating in a transformative moment in artistic expression during a time of cultural change.

GLORY: A Life Among Legends is a powerful memoir that takes the reader from an early life whose innocence is cut short almost overnight, to Van Scott’s dedication to the performing arts as a professional who would find herself at the vanguard of a new vision of African-American dance and theater securing its place as an original American art form. Van Scott’s story begins in Chicago, the daughter of a physician and a loving stay-at-home mother. But, after her cousin Emmett Till is murdered, it not only galvanizes a country, but it also spurs Van Scott with a passion to speak truths through art. Already, she’d trained at the Abraham Lincoln Center, where she met legends such as Paul Robeson and Charity Bailey. In the summer after high school, at a camp, Cicely Tyson referred Van Scott to actress Vinnette Carroll for acting training. Soon Van Scott was modeling, acting and touring the world as a principal dancer with the Katherine Dunham, Agnes DeMille, and Talley Beatty dance companies, as well as joining the American Ballet Theater. During her travels and career, Glory Van Scott works with and encounters legends such as George Balanchine, Elizabeth Catlett, Micki Grant, Robert Guillaume, Langston Hughes, James Earl Jones, among so many others.

Throughout GLORY: A Life Among Legends, we are witnesses to the passion of a generation, a moment in which Black culture takes its place among the high arts, and also becomes its own voice in the civil rights movement. The memoir is a testament to the power of art, to the power of commitment, to the power of education, and how taken together they can change a culture. Through understanding Van Scott’s lifetime of experiences, Glory: A Life Among Legends offers us a book that teaches us how we can confront the ugliness of prejudice and animus with grace, dignity, and beauty.

GLORY: A Life Among Legends draws from Dr. Glory Van Scott’s life as a dancer with the Katherine Dunham, Agnes DeMille, Talley Beatty, and the American Ballet Theater. Additionally, she has appeared on Broadway in shows ranging from House of Flowers with Pearl Bailey in 1954, to The Great White Hope with James Earl Jones in 1968. While pursuing her career in the performing arts, Van Scott earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Goddard College, and her Ph.D. from Antioch College's Union Graduate School. She has taught theater at Bucknell University and Fordham University, and at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, she inspired many fledging performers, including Kevin Bacon. In 1978, Van Scott acted opposite Michael Jackson and Diana Ross in the film The Wiz. She produced The Katherine Dunham Gala at Carnegie Hall, and the 2003 Tribute to Fred Benjamin at Symphony Space. Van Scott

was also project director and artistic coordinator for the Alvin Ailey Company’s The Magic of Katherine Dunham, and co-producer, with Woodie King, Jr., of the National Black Touring Circuit’s New York Dance Divas. Van Scott, immortalized in bronze by Elizabeth Catlett in 1981, was awarded the first Katherine Dunham Legacy Award in 2002.

Through a complement of storytelling and a treasure trove of historic and personal photos, in GLORY: A Life Among Legends, Dr. Glory Van Scott shares her experiences about being with some of the greatest performers of her era during her tours and travels around the world, giving her readers a backstage pass into history, and, through her quest for education, a blueprint for the future. But at its heart, GLORY: A Life Among Legends is a deeply personal story. One that quite often happens to take place on a public stage, and yet one, that in many ways, is the story of our country, and therefore the story of us.

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