Michael Rice grew up hearing stories about his mother’s early life as a dancer in New York City, but they never meant all that much to him. “I paid attention, but it was just my mom…my brother and I had a different life,” the now adult Rice reflected.
But when he and his wife Jane unpacked a long-forgotten box his mother, Paula Yasgour, had left behind following her death from cancer in 1993, he realized how significant those stories were. In the box he found the unbound pages of a scrapbook chronicling Yasgour’s career during the nascent years of modern American dance, from 1928 to 1933.
Programs, clippings, photographs and other memorabilia relating to Yasgour’s dance career are now on display at the Bureau of Jewish Education’s Jewish Community Library in San Francisco until February 23. “A Dancer’s Scrapbook” is a glimpse into the life of the young Yasgour at a time when Jewish women fought on various fronts to take part in this new American art form.