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Puppets of American Dance on view at Detroit Institute of Arts July 11–January 16, 2013

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

(Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will display some of the best examples of American dance marionettes from its Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection from July 11, 2012 to Jan. 16, 2013.


The elaborate, large-scale marionettes were designed to gracefully execute ballet, folk and modern dance movements by clever use of counter-weighted limbs and finely carved joints. The “cast of characters” that will be on view include Sonja Henie, Greta Garbo, Josephine Baker, 19th-century Cakewalkers and a dancing Skeleton.


Artists and puppeteers Frank Paris, Lillian Thompson, the Lauer Sisters and others followed a tradition of marionette theater introduced to American nightclubs and cabarets in the 1940s. The performances often incorporated intricate dancing marionettes, such as Paris’ Josephine Baker and the Lauer Sisters’ Spanish Dancers that appeared in-the-round, with live orchestras for primarily adult audiences.


Hours and Admission

Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.




The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.


Programs are made possible with support from the City of Detroit.

Contact:   Pamela Marcil     313-833-7899