“A Life Among Legends”


Dr Glory Van Scott has lived quite an eventful life as a performer, producer, singer, activist, educator and author of her powerful memoir “Glory: A Life Among Legends.” Glory’s book takes the reader from her early life to her dedication and career in the performing arts where she stood at the vanguard of a new vision of African-American dance and theater. Born in Chicago, Glory’s parents Dr. and Mrs Thomas Van Scott instilled in her a love of education and the arts. Of African American/Choctaw and Seminole ancestry she is also a relative of Emmett Till whose famous murder in Money, Mississippi, shocked the world.

I saw the controversial photograph of Emmett and the tears started to come down and the floodgate opened. After seeing that picture, I feel there is nothing more you can do to me. What is to be, will be, and I made up my mind I will not run from it.” recalled Glory who was inspired by the Negro Spirituals her mother sang and which she heard in church.

In my home we had to stand up and read. When I was 5 or 6 years old I was already into the music and dance that is the life bread of any artist and I knew deep down I was an artist. I had the strength that comes from spirit. It was the power that motivated me to pursue the arts. I went to the cultural arts center which had a library. I would go and listen to the stories read by the librarian. I was acting, singing, dancing and performing a lot so was noticed by one of my teachers who told me that once I went to NY not to come back because she recognized my place was in the theater and New York was the best place to hone my craft,” recalled Van Scott.

Glory had watched Talley Beatty perform and decided she wanted to dance. She attended the Abraham Lincoln Center where she met Paul Robeson and Charity Bailey. She spend summers in the Ethical Culture Camp in NY. First. Van Scott went to the Martha Graham School of Dance but their technique did not interest her. Someone suggested she go to the Katherine Dunham School and when she did, Glory felt she belonged. Eventually, she auditioned for the “House of Flowers” a play choreographed by George Balanchine. She got the job. In that show was Jeffrey Holder, Louis Johnson, Carmen de lavallade, Alvin Ailey, Arthur Mitchell, etc.

Having met Cicely Tyson at the Society for Ethical Culture’s Encampment for Citizenship, Cicely referred Van Scott to Actress Vinette Carrol who mentored Glory for a time in the theatrical arts. Although Glory was a principal dancer with Katherine Dunham, Agnes de Mille and Talley Beatty ‘s dance companies she also did some modeling for the Wilhelmina Agency. She went on to join the American Ballet Company. Eventually appearing in “Kwamina,” ‘The Great White Hope,” “Billy No-Name” and “Rhythms of the Saints.” She also played the Rolls Royce Lady in the 1974 film, “The Wiz.”

Always the scholar, Glory went on to earn her B.A., and Master’s Degrees from Goddard College, eventually acquiring her Ph.D. From Antioch College’s Union Graduate School. Her love of theater prompted her to teach theater at Bucknell University’s Pennsylvania School for the Arts for 10 years. She also taught Theater as Social Change at Fordham University. A Breadloaf Writer’s scholar she composed eight musicals including “Miss Truth” eventually founding Dr Glory’s Youth Theatre. Her children’s book,“Baba and the Flea” was published by Lippincott in 1972.

Van Scott coordinated Katherine Dunham’s Devine Drum Beats and produced The Katherine Dunham Gala at Carnegie Hall for WNET’s Dance in America as well as the 2003 Tribute to Fred Benjamin at Symphony Space. She was artistic coordinator for the Alvin Ailey Company’s “The Magic of Katherine Dunham” and co-produced the National Black Touring Circuit with producer Woodie King, Jr. of New York Dance Divas. Immortalized in bronze by Elizabeth Catlett in 1981, she was awarded the Katherine Dunham Legacy Award in 2002.

Interested parties can find Glory Van Scott’s latest book “Glory: A Life Among Legends” on Amazon.




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