Vera Sears Oral History, 2004
Vera Sears recounts her childhood growing up in Germany and attending the Berlin Opera School. She performed with a group of students in the summers, which gave her the background for her life in dance. Edwin Sieradz, Sears' future husband, was a musician in this group. He studied law in Berlin and also worked as a secretary for Albert Einstein. Sears talks about living in Germany in the 1930's when Hitler came to power, and about the fear you had of all people, even your friends and your own family members. Neither she nor her husband could work after Hitler took power because Edwin was Jewish. Separately, they came to America and settled in Colorado where Edwin Sieradz received a 3-year scholarship to the University of Denver. They changed their last name to Sears. Sears talks about the early days in Colorado and how Jewish organizations helped immigrating Jews find work and a place to live. Sears recalls how she met Martha Wilcox and became interested in modern dance. She studied with Hanya Holm in Colorado Springs, Colo., performing in several productions. She started teaching dance. After the war Edwin Sears was asked to serve as an attorney for the American government in the Nuremburg war crimes trials. While he was away Vera Sears stayed in New York studying, teaching and performing with Hanya Holm. She later joined her husband at Nuremburg and talks about Germany after the war and working with Mary Wigman. Sears solidified her dance philosophy while studying under Virginia Tanner in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sears wanted authenticity of movement to come from feelings and ideas of the dancer. Simplicity was most important. Sears was hired to teach by Martha Wilcox of the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music, Theatre Dept. She became interested in teaching children around 1950. Sears talks about teaching children, the programs she and Mary Cornish staged including the television programs while at the University of Denver. Teaching children became her life work. Sears was director of the Children's Dance Theatre for 17 years. Sears recounts her move to Aspen, Colo. to teach. Coming back to Denver in 1978, Sears was asked to teach a few classes for Freidann Parker and Lillian Covillo but she declined. Sears says the most important part of her life was the Children's Dance Theatre.
- Friends of the Carson-Brierly Dance Library (Organization)
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Biographical / Historical
Born in Dresden, Germany, Vera moved to Berlin at age 6. At 10 years old, she joined the Berlin Opera School studying ballet and academic courses. In 1934, she married Edwin Sierdaz (later Sears). In 1939, the couple came to the United States and in 1940 to Denver. Edwin taught law at the University of Denver and Vera taught dance with Florence Ruston and danced with Martha Wilcox and Hanya Holm. In 1945 Edwin served as a lawyer in the Nuremburg trials and upon their return to the US, Vera was asked by Martha Wilcox to teach at the Lamont School of Music Dance Department. During her time witht he Lamont School, Vera became the director of the Children's Dance Theatre. Later, Vera taught the Kent School and spent summers at the Aspen Institute. Vera passed away in 2008.
3 Items : (sound tape cassette)
Scope and Contents
From the Series: This series contains transcripts, cassettes, and personal files on the 2004 'Legends of Dance.'
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Good 3 cassette tapes 3 hours, 37 minutes, 42 seconds
Gift of the Friends of the Carson Brierly Dance Library, 2004.
Interview conducted at 13631 E. Marina Dr., Bldg. 214, Apt. 101, Aurora, Colo., 80014 in three sessions on April 15, May 15, and July 2, 2004.