Eve Gentry

Eve Gentry – Eve was born Henrietta Greenhood in San Bernardino, CA on August 20, 1909. In 1917 she began to study ballet, folk and ballroom dance and in 1928 she moved to San Francisco and began studying modern dance. It was in 1936 that she moved to NYC where she began a dance career with the Hanya Holm Company.
 
She choreographed her most famous dance piece Tenant of the Street in 1938. She married her childhood friend and beau Bruce Gentry in 1944 and chose the professional name – Eve Gentry.
 
In 1940 Eve and 3 other teachers founded the Dance Notation Bureau. She was in fact the first American dancer to teach Laban notation in the US. Eve directed her own dance company from 1944 – 1968. She was also a charter faculty member for the High School for the Performing Arts and the New York University School of the Arts. Most significant in this context is that she served as teacher and associate with Joseph Pilates in NYC from 1942 – 1968. During this time Eve had a radical mastectomy in 1955 and knew that the only person she could turn to for help was Joseph Pilates. So much muscle had been removed she could not lift her arms. With Joe’s help and guidance she was able to return to dance in one years time.
 
She relocated to Santa Fe, NM in 1968 and established a dance studio as well as a Pilates studio with the equipment that Joe had given her prior to her departure from NYC. Eve worked with the Santa Fe opera and choreographed and danced in Stravinsky’s La Rossignol in 1969 and 70 and at the age of 63 danced in the world premiere of Villa Lobos – Yerma choreographed by Jose Limon.
 
Throughout her more than 50 year career Eve was a dancer, teacher, coach and choreographer for countless stage, film and television projects. In 1979 Bennington College honored her with the ‘Pioneer of Modern Dance’ award and in 1989 was chosen by the State of New Mexico as a ‘Santa Fe Living Treasure’.
 
Eve died on June 17, 1994 at the age of 84. Although she trained only 3 individuals to teach the Pilates method in her lifetime, her contribution to the preservation and development of the Pilates method remains to this day remarkable.