Angna Enters

Anita "Angna" Enters (April 18, 1907–February 25, 1989) was an American dancer, mime, painter, writer, novelist and playwright.[1] She studied at the Art Students League of New York and was a 1934 Guggenheim Fellow. She wrote a novel and three autobiographies as well as the films Lost Angel (1943) and Tenth Avenue Angel (1948).

Angna Enters
Enters at the New House Gallery, 1940, New York City
Anita Engers

(1907-04-18)April 18, 1907
New York City, United States
DiedFebruary 25, 1989(1989-02-25) (aged 81)
Tenafly, New Jersey, United States
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Art Students League of New York
Known forDance, mime, painting, writer
AwardsGuggenheim Fellowship

Early life

Enters was born in New York City and graduated from North Division High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1925. She saw the first Denishawn concert tour the same year, and the following year, an American tour of Sergei Diaghilev's Les Ballets Russes. In June 1926, Enters enrolled in Milwaukee State Normal School, a normal school for teachers, design and drawing (now the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee).[1]

Emergence as a dancer

Enters moved to New York to study at the Art Students League of New York in 1929, and began to study dance with Michio Itō the following year, eventually performing as Michio's partner in 1933.[1] That year she created her first piece, an evocation of a statue of a Gothic Virgin, entitled Ecclesiastique. The piece later became Moyen Age. In 1934, she borrowed $25 with which to present her first solo program at the Greenwich Village Theater.[2] Her solo program, The Theatre of Angna Enters, toured the United States and Europe until 1939 and was performed, though less often, until 1960.[1] In 1934, Enters was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study Hellenistic art forms in Athens, Greece.[3]

Visual artist

Enters created a large body of visual art, including sketches, landscape drawings, archaeological studies, costume plates, water colors and oil portraits. Many of her sketches and paintings were exhibited in the United States and Europe.[3] Her sketches were often costume designs for characters of her mime performances or set designs for plays.[1] The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York holds selected works by Enters, as do other museums.

Personal life

Enters met journalist Louis Kantor in 1921. The two began dating secretly in 1924, wed quietly in Spain in 1936 but maintained separate households. In 1924, Enters changed her first name to Angna and began using 1907 as her birth year. Kantor also changed his name to Louis Kalonyme in 1924 and began writing art criticism for Arts and Decoration magazine. Kalonyme was friends with many notable thinkers of the day: Eugene O’Neill, George Bernard Shaw, and Georgia O'Keeffe among them. The couple did not have any children and Kalonyme died in 1961 after a long illness.[1]


Enters wrote three volumes of autobiography – First Person Plural, (1937) Silly Girl (1944) and Artist's Life (1958). She also wrote a novel, Among the Daughters (1956), and a book on her work, On Mime (1966). Her plays, Love Possessed Juana: A Play of the Inquisition in Spain, co-written with Louis Kalonyme, and The Unknown Lover, were presented by the Houston Little Theater in 1946 and 1947.[2] Enters is also credited with having co-written two Hollywood films, Lost Angel (1943) and Tenth Avenue Angel (1948).


Enters' first teaching work came at the Stella Adler Studio, where she taught from 1957 to 1960. She was artist-in-residence at the Dallas Theatre Center in 1961–62, and taught mime and Baylor University during that year. She spent the following school year at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. In 1970–71 she was artist-in-residence at Pennsylvania State University, during which time she gave her last known public performance.[1]


  1. Biographical Note, Angna Enters Papers, Jerome Robbins Dance Division. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  2. New York Times, obituary, "Angna Enters, 82, Dancer, Mime And Artist Known for Characters", by Jennifer Dunning, March 1, 1989
  3. '’TIME Magazine'’, article, "Mime Enters", December 17, 1934

Enters' Books and further reading

  • First Person Plural. New York: Stackpole sons, 1937.
  • Love Possessed Juana (queen of Castile) a play in 4 acts, New York: Twice a Year Press, 1939.
  • Silly Girl, a portrait of personal remembrance. Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin company, 1944.
  • Among the Daughters, a novel. New York: Coward-McCann, 1955.
  • Artist's Life. New York: Coward-McCann, 1958.
  • On Mime, second edition. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1968 (first edition 1965).
  • Uncommon Eloquence: A Biography of Angna Enters, by Dorothy Mandel, Arden Press, September 1986, ISBN 0-912869-07-0.
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