Milestone achievement

Faculty from the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences gathered at Whittemore House April 30 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Annelise Mertz, professor emerita in dance. As a teacher, performer and choreographer, Mertz, shown here with students circa mid-1960s, has been a tireless champion for the arts and a longtime force on the St. Louis dance scene, which she helped introduce to modern dance. Around the time this photo was taken, dance was considered part of physical education, and that’s when Mertz spearheaded the creation of the Dance Program, which she directed for some 31 years, and of the PAD itself. She also launched a series of companies and presenting organizations, including Dance St. Louis. In 2001, the PAD named its primary dance rehearsal/performance space, the Annelise Mertz Dance Studio, in Mallinckrodt Student Center in her honor. That same year, she published “The Body Can Speak,” about the educational value of dance as a creative and aesthetic art form.