This intriguing biography details the life and work of world dance pioneer La Meri (1899-1988). An American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and writer, La Meri was ahead of her time in championing cross-cultural dance performances and education, yet she is almost totally forgotten today. In La Meri and Her Life in Dance, Nancy Ruyter introduces readers to a visionary artist who played a pivotal role in dance history.Born in Texas as Russell Meriwether Hughes, La Meri toured throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and the United States in the 1920s and '30s, immersing herself in different dance traditions at a time when few American dancers explored styles outside their own. She learned about Indian dance culture from the celebrated Uday Shankar, studied belly dancing with the Moroccan sultan's top dancer, and took flamenco lessons in Spain. La Meri spread awareness and enjoyment of the world's myriad forms of expression before it was common for performing artists from these countries to tour internationally. Ruyter describes how La Meri founded the Ethnologic Dance Center in New York City, choreographed innovative works based on various dance cultures for Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and other venues, and wrote widely on the styles and techniques of international dance genres. This long-overdue book illustrates that the popularity of world dance today owes much to the trailblazing efforts of La Meri.