Perry Mansfield

Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp: A History of Art in Nature

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
  • Library Hall

Local author Dagny McKinley talks about her new book, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp: A History of Art in Nature, including intriguing photos, stories and interviews that didn't make the final cut.

The inspiration for this book began when Dagny McKinley saw an image of Portia Mansfield and Charlotte Perry dancing. The women appeared to be filled with such joy she felt pulled to find out more about them. Four years and hundreds of pages of research later, this is their story.

In 1914, Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield envisioned a secluded institution nestled in the mountains, where art and nature could intersect. By the 1920s, their remote Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp in Steamboat Springs was serving as a hub for top dancers such as José Limon and Harriette Ann Gray to hone their craft. In addition to training thousands of pointed toes and arched feet, the school showcased equestrian jumping and performed plays by masters, including Shakespeare, García Lorca and Tennessee Williams. The theater program eventually attracted budding actors like Julie Harris, Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Biel. Author Dagny McKinley presents the story of America’s longest continuously running performing arts camp.

Dagny McKinley

About the author
Dagny McKinley has lived many places, but found a home in the expansive granite landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountain range before she moved to the Rockies. She has lived in Steamboat Springs for twelve years, where her writings and research have focused on local histories as well as fiction set in nature. She is as comfortable in the city as she is in the wilderness, but prefers the challenges of big mountains and surviving outdoors. McKinley stays current on environmental issues, women’s issues and is an avid animal rights supporter. She believes all lives are interconnected and each person, landscape and insect has something to offer and teach. Writing has been a part of McKinley’s life since she was a small child. She found healing through writing and nature and continues immerse herself in those passions today. McKinley has an MFA from Naropa University and a BA from the University of Western Ontario. Her books include The Springs of Steamboat: Healing Waters, Mysterious Cave and Sparkling Soda and Wild Hearts: Dog Sledding the Rockies.

Books will be for sale at the event courtesy of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.