On December 17, 1919, Ted Shawn fi rst performed the short solo dance Gnossienne as part of the Denishawn Dancers repertoire in Los Angeles, California ( Figure 6.1 ). To quote Shawn’s own words: ‘to music by Erik Satie, I represented a priest of ancient Crete going through a ritual at the altar of the snake goddess’. 1 Only the single male dancer is seen; both the altar and the goddess for whom he dances are to be imagined off stage.