Nautch Dancer

(American, 1905–1971)
(American, Ohio, Rocky River, 1912–1931)
Overall: 44.2 x 21.3 x 12.1 cm (17 3/8 x 8 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.)
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Gregory sculpted human and animal figures in eclectic styles ranging from realistic to highly stylized, as seen in this ceramic sculpture. It depicts Gilda Gray, a dancer notorious for her “bodyshaking . . . wicked torso movements” performed to jazz or blues music. In the 1925 Ziegfield Follies, Gray added exotic South Seas dances to her repertoire, including the “nautch dance,” named after the nautch—a traditional, East Indian, form-fitting, pleated dress—she wore during the performance. Although Gray refused the sculptor’s request for a personal modeling session, she did provide him with an onstage seat in the wings, from which he carefully studied her movements during several performances in Cleveland.
Nautch Dancer

Nautch Dancer


Waylande Gregory, Cowan Pottery Studio

(American, 1905–1971), (American, Ohio, Rocky River, 1912–1931)
America, Ohio, Cleveland

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