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Israelis You Should Know: Gertrud Kraus

Gertrud Kraus, 1930s (Photo: wikicommons/Djt7572)

Lived: May 5, 1901 - November 13, 1977

Known for: An Israeli artist, Gertrud Kraus was a pioneer in modern dance, as well as a longtime instructor of the arts.

Why you should know her: Gertrud Kraus was born to a Jewish family in Vienna. While she studied piano, Gertrud decided after graduation that dance was her true love. She then studied dance, and joined a prominent Viennese dance company run by renowned dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Gertrud Bodenweiser.

Opening her own studio, Kraus began to perform what would become known as expressionistic dance, or German dance. In 1930, she was invited to perform in the Holy Land, returning the following year when her tour was a great success.

In the face of the growing Nazi threat, Gertrud made aliyah (immigrated to the Holy Land) in 1935, moving to Tel Aviv. Her dance company was affiliated with the Tel Aviv Folk Opera. Gertrud also won a scholarship to travel and study in the United States.

In the 1950s, she founded the Israel Ballet Theatre, acting as its artistic director. Gertrud Kraus continued her teaching - dance, as well as painting and sculpture - until she passed away in 1977. Before her death, Kraus was given the Israel Prize in 1968.

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