Charlie, David and Ethel Winter Hyman
Ethel Winter was the daughter of Murray and Mary Elizabeth "May" Kirkton Winter. Murray was the son of Patrick Murray Winter and Isabella Ednie, both born in Scotland. Ethel, a very successful ballet dancer, married Charlie Hyman. Charlie and Ethel met at Bennington College when he came to teach stage design and she was there teaching dance. Charlie had attended the Pratt Institute. After they married, he went into his father’s moving business. Charlie had a business in New York City. Ethel danced with the celebrated Martha Graham Dance Company for many years and later taught dance at Julliard. Above is a picture of Charlie and Ethel with their son David in front of their house at 306 East 30th Street, Manhatten, NY.
David Hyman after the death of his parents sent Mel and Pat Oakes the three amazing pictures at right and below. The ball players in the photos are easily recognized. Charlie Hyman, husband of Ethel Winter, is the small boy with his grandfather, Max Rosner and two Yankees. Picture taken about 1929. Max owned a minor league team, The Bushwicks and also Dexter Park where they played. Until he got to know Max, the Babe asked to be paid up front, in cash, for theses personal appearances.
The Brooklyn Bushwicks were an independent, semi-professional baseball team that played its games almost totally in Dexter Park(Woodhaven, Queens, NY) from 1917 to 1951. They were unique at their time for fielding multi-ethnic rosters. They played what amounts to exhibition games against barnstorming Negro League teams, minor league baseball teams, and other semi-pro teams. The Bushwicks were owned by Max Rosner, who hired many former major league to play on his club, including Dazzy Vance and others. All the famous player of the time came to play exhibitions at Dexter Park including Dizzy Dean, Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe Medwick. The great black stars, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and many others often opposed the Bushwicks. The team appeared on New York City television and on radio as well. The team's picture appeared in three different Spaulding Guides. A book on the Bushwicks by Thomas Henley Barthel entitled, "Those Peerless Semipros: The Brooklyn Bushwicks of Dexter Park," was published in 2009. From Wikipedia. More below in article from SI Vault. Mel Oakes added the pictures and information to the Wikipedia article on the Brooklyn Bushwicks.
Charlie Hyman, with Babe Ruth. Picture taken about 1933
Charlie Hyman, with Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper. Picture taken about 1936, his debut year with Yankees.
Ethel Winter was my teacher at Juilliard, and I have strong memories of her positive energy, openness, and concern for students. She taught many other students during her tenure at the School from 1953-2003, and I recently asked several of them what they remember about her as a teacher. Each one emphasized the joy and enthusiasm that she brought to her teaching, her dancing, and her life. Winter radiates passion. So it’s only natural that, on December 1, that passion will be celebrated as Ethel Winter receives the Martha Hill Dance Fund Lifetime Achievement Award for her multifaceted dedication to the dance field.
Picture: Ethel Winter teaching at Juilliard in the 1980s. (From the Juilliard School Archives)
Born June 18, 1924, in Wrentham, Mass., Winter loved dance from an early age, taking classes at a local studio as a child and moving on as a teen to classes in ballet, tap, Spanish dance, classical Indian dance, and acrobatics in Boston. She knew that she wanted to pursue dance as a career, but opportunities were limited in the United States in the 1940s, and her parents insisted that she go to college. She chose Bennington College in Vermont, an innovative, progressive school where the arts were considered equal among other academic subjects. Martha Hill (director of the Juilliard Dance Division from 1951 to 1985) was the director of dance at Bennington College at that time, and she and Winter developed a lifelong close friendship. William “Bill” Bales was Winter’s primary modern dance teacher.
In the summer of 1943, Martha Graham was in residency at Bennington College and premiered her work Deaths and Entrances, which impressed Winter deeply. Graham technique was difficult for her at first, but she quickly grew to love the expressive and deep physical nature of it. She joined Graham's company in 1944 and continued until 1969, originating such roles as Helen of Troy in Clytemnestra and Aphrodite in Phaedre. Her lyrical quality, intensity, and diverse range defined her dancing, and those who saw her perform remember her as unforgettable. Of special distinction is the fact that Winter was the first dancer Graham chose to take over her roles.
Winter’s career led her to Broadway, television, summer stock, dancing with Sophie Maslow’s company, and directing and choreographing for her own company. In addition, she taught both nationally and internationally at numerous locations, including Juilliard and the Martha Graham School, for 50 years. She was one of the founders of the London School of Contemporary Dance in Britain and the Batsheva School in Israel.
Winter is that rare kind of gifted teacher that students remember years later for having led them to essential knowledge about themselves, dance, and life too. Perhaps it is the influence of her progressive education at Bennington College (from which she holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees) that leads her to respect her students as people above all. Some dance teachers teach with the result being their primary objective; with Winter, process is equally, if not more, important. In this way, the road to becoming a dancer is filled with discovery and inner growth, as well as the more easily quantifiable outer growth. Winter described her own teaching to me: “I like to use positive encouragement instead of negative criticism. A teacher can be firm without killing the spirit, an essential ingredient for the performer.” She continued by describing how, as she grew more experienced as a teacher, she learned to value each student for whom they were without trying to mold everyone into one image.
Her students absorbed and valued this in her. Tony Powell (B.F.A. ’95) remembers, “There was something very magical about Ethel’s classes. She cared about each of us and knew our strengths and weaknesses firsthand. If you were struggling with something, she would put you in the front row, so you couldn’t fade away into the background.” Ani Udovicki (B.F.A. ’85) remembers, “One felt that she saw you on your own terms and not against some ideal abstraction. Indeed, she could see even the tiniest attempt at moving in the right direction, and she celebrated it as if it were some great achievement. She would get closer, her voice and hands full of excitement, to congratulate one’s efforts.”
Dance is embedded in the very fabric of her life, yet Winter never loses sight of what it is to be human and to value that in herself and others. Tina Curran (B.F.A. ’90) summarized the feelings of many of Winter’s students: “I gained in Ethel’s classes an understanding that dance comes from life, and that technique is a means to focus and heighten the ability of the body to be expressive, to share life. I will never forget Ethel’s demonstration of a Graham contraction as an expression of joy. This image still resonates in my memory and in my body. The experience was an epiphany to recognize that dance is not only doing, but also an expression of being.” Winter is an inspiration for the inner light and dignity she embodies and shares..
Elizabeth McPherson (B.F.A. '90, dance) is an assistant professor of dance education at Montclair State University.
Born on June 18, 1924, in Wrentham, Mass., Winter studied dance avidly from a young age, driving into Boston for dance classes in ballet, tap, Spanish, classical Indian, and acrobatics. When her parents insisted upon college, she chose Bennington, where she was taught by Martha Hill, the founding director of the Juilliard Dance Division, and William Bales. During her senior year at Bennington, she began her long career in Martha Graham’s company, where she was known for originating solo roles in Clytemnestra and Phaedra. In a 1962 New York Times review of the latter, John Martin wrote, “Ethel Winter makes Aphrodite permeatingly vulgar and vicious (though half an hour earlier, she was the most beautiful and heartbreaking Joan of Arc in Seraphic Dialogue).” Winter was also known for being the first dancer to take over Graham’s roles, and she was on the faculty of the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance from 1946 to 2006, serving as its director from 1973 to 1974.
Winter, who earned a master’s degree from Bennington, also taught there and at more than a dozen other schools around the country over the years, including Juilliard, where she was on the faculty from 1953 to 2003. She also danced with Sophie Maslow and Juilliard faculty member Anna Sokolow, and appeared in Broadway and summer stock productions as well as on television. She was a founder of both the London School of Contemporary Dance in Britain and the Batsheva School in Israel, and she directed and choreographed for her own company in the mid-1960s.
Her husband, Charles Hyman, died in 2009; she is survived by their son, David Hyman.
Elizabeth McPherson (B.F.A. ’90, dance), who studied with Winter at Juilliard, recalls her teacher.
Ethel Winter’s intensity, integrity, and joy defined her dance style and her approach to life. These qualities also colored her extensive teaching career. She taught in a manner that demanded excellence, but she was also wonderfully positive, approachable, and treated each student as an individual.
Now that I am a professor and educator, Ethel is my role model for being a caring and deeply committed teacher. In my student days, she once found me crying in the hallway. She proceeded to talk me through and out of my problem until I felt that everything was O.K. again. She remembered and understood the pressures of being a student, and could help guide you through the ups and downs. But this was also accompanied by setting high goals for us. There was no slacking off in her classes. I always felt that she was trying to help me become the best dancer and best person I could be in part by leading me to better understanding of myself. Later on in my career when I began writing, she again encouraged me—this support included strong critique, but also the idea that this was something I could do, and do well, if I put my mind to it.
CHARLES HYMAN, 1925–2009
Husband of Ethel Winter, Stage Manager and long-time friend of the Martha Graham Dance Company
Charles Hyman was born June 1st, 1925, in Queens, New York. As a boy, he worked for his grandfather's baseball team, the Bushwicks, at Dexter Park. As a young man, he was interested in theater and worked with Off-Broadway theatre groups. After serving in the Army during World War II, he returned to New York to complete his degree at Pratt Institute, studying industrial design as well as painting and sculpture. At Bennington College, he taught stage design and lighting. While at Bennington, he met Ethel Winter. She had danced with Martha Graham and became the first person entrusted with a Graham solo, Salem Shore (1943). They married and Ethel Winter returned to the Graham Company where she both originated roles and continued to learn parts played by Graham herself.
Charles became an accomplished businessman while continuing to work in stage design and the arts. In 1949, Hyman provided the first set for Graham's Judith, and in 1955-1956, he was the stage manager for the Graham Company State Department tour through Asia, the Far and Middle East. When Graham began her evening-long work, Clytemnestra (1958), he assisted her in the initial conception of the set designs. In addition, he designed set pieces for the choreography of Pearl Lang, Sophie Maslow, Yuriko, and Ethel Winter. Charles Hyman is survived by his wife, Ethel, their son David, and Charles' sister Eleanor Merrill.
Article from SI Vault
On Oct. 8, 1957 the Dodgers announced they were leaving Brooklyn, and a million hearts were broken, but in certain quarters, especially those near the Brooklyn- Queens border, defiance raised its head and the proud cry was heard, "Bring back the Bushwicks!" The Bushwicks? Today they are all but forgotten, but there were Sunday afternoons in the first half of this century when the Bushwicks, operating out of Dexter Park in Queens, hard by the Brooklyn border, outperformed the Dodgers, who worked just a few miles away. The Bushwicks weren't in organized baseball. They weren't Triple A or Double A or any kind of A. They were semipro. And yet the box scores indicate that they played like big-leaguers on many occasions.
Oct. 11, 1931: The Dazzy Vance All-Stars barnstorm their way into Dexter Park. Vance, a future Hall-of-Famer and a mainstay of the Dodger staff, is defeated 2-1. Oct. 17, 1948: The Bushwicks are playing the World Series All-Stars, a team of present and future big-leaguers led by Larry Doby, Tommy Holmes and Eddie Stanky, all .300 hitters during the regular season. Thirteen scoreless innings go by, and in the 14th Bushwick Second Baseman Al Cuccinello, moonlighting from his job at the Sanitation Department, lines a single through the right side to score fellow sanitation worker Jack Di Grace. The Bushwicks win 1-0. Doby, Stanky & Co. have collected just four hits in 14 innings. The Bushwick pitcher is a stocky, lefthanded, 19-year-old curveballer from Astoria, Queens named Eddie Ford. July 1, 1951: Ford, now known as Whitey, is pitching against the Bushwicks for the Fort Monmouth Army team after a 9-1 rookie season with the Yankees. The Bushwicks chase him in the fourth and win 9-0. Ford, like Vance, is now in the Hall of Fame.
Semipro is actually the wrong word for the Bushwicks. Along with several other teams—the Springfield Greys, the Barton Nighthawks (owned and operated by actor James Barton of Tobacco Road fame) and the Bay Parkways, with whom Hank Greenberg got his start—they should have been called "independent." As such, they played a lot of baseball, as many as 90 games a season in the peak years. And a lot of their best players performed for other teams, too. "That's why we were always in shape," says Cuccinello, who played for the Giants in the days of Hubbell, Ott and Terry and is now a Yankee scout. "Di Grace and I played four games a week for the Bushwicks and four for the Sanitation Department team. All we did was play ball." Another ex-Bushwick can recall a Sanitation Department hiring session at the height of the Depression. "Three hundred guys were lined up all night. Then at 8 a.m. a door opens and six guys march to the head of the line. They were all ballplayers."
Money and local pride were the secrets of the Bushwicks' success. In the '30s and '40s the salary of a top minor-leaguer couldn't equal what a man could make playing for the Bushwicks or some corporate-sponsored teams. And besides, you got to stay at home.
Unfortunately, the Bushwicks were never able to secure the undivided loyalty of the home fans. One group, known as the "landlords," sat behind first base and did indeed root for the Bushwicks, but the "tenants," who sat behind third base, rode Catcher-Coach Paddy (the Pig) Smith so hard that he sometimes had to be removed from the field for fear of bloodshed. Home-field hatred of the Bushwicks reached its zenith in 1931 when a questionable call by an umpire against a visiting Japanese team set off a torrent of insults and flying objects, and the game had to be halted until the police arrived and restored order. The Brooklyn Eagle, known as an objective paper, reported that the "fans were with the Japs all the way." Even though they weren't loved, the Bushwicks consistently won 75% of their games, in large measure because of old-fashioned baseball know-how.
Still, the Bushwicks occasionally resorted to measures outside the realm of old-fashioned baseball. In 1941, on a rare road trip, they went down to Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. to play the Homestead Grays of the Negro leagues. It was wartime, and with a lot of major-leaguers stationed in the area as servicemen, several of the Bushwicks went into temporary retirement to enable the team to "load up," as the saying went. Among the retirees was Jack (Snapper) O'Neill, prematurely gray and known as the finest "signature man," or signer-in of absentees, in the baseball-crazy Sanitation Department.
Sitting in the press box and hearing one of the temporary Bushwicks announced as O'Neill, Snapper leaned over to a reporter and said, "Get $500 down for me. We can't miss today." The reporter found a well-dressed Gray supporter and said, "Would you care to make a little bet?" "My man," was the reply, "do you mean to bet conversation or do you mean to bet wherewithal?" Needless to say, the Snapper and his man meant wherewithal, and the bet was on. O'Neill's substitute hit the distant left-field wall twice before the game was called on account of rain. On the way out, one of the Grays stopped the slugger and said, "You may be Snapper O'Neill indeed, but you're batting righthanded now, your hair has turned black and you've learned how to hit."
Then there was the time Lefty Gomez, playing out the string with the Bushwicks after winning 189 games for the Yankees, bet owner Max Rosner that he could hit a homer, a feat which had eluded him during 14 years in the majors. After talking the pitcher into grooving one and the outfielders into waving at anything he hit their way, Gomez fell on his face while rounding third base. He had never before run so far on one hit.
It was the postwar proliferation of cars and TV sets that marked the end for the Bushwicks. As Di Grace puts it, "When they got cars, wives began to remember all kinds of cousins and uncles they just had to visit on Sunday." Another reason for the Bushwicks' decline was the integration of the major leagues. As good as the Bushwicks were, the names DiMaggio, Williams and Feller weren't on their roster, and the big draw at Dexter Park hadn't been the Bushwicks themselves but the famous and talented stars of the Negro leagues whose teams frequently played them, including the one and only Josh Gibson.
Gibson, known as the black Babe Ruth, is the only man anyone can remember hitting a ball over the billboard in centerfield. Homers were, in general, hard to come by at Dexter Park: The fences were more distant than in most major league parks and, more important, owner Rosner, a Hungarian immigrant who managed the team himself until the 1930s, knew the value of a baseball. When you were paying your players $45 to $100 a week you didn't let $2 or $3 baseballs fly over the fence indiscriminately; so the game balls remained in the icebox until game time in order to deaden them. For extra security, squads of small boys were stationed beyond the fence in foul territory. In exchange for turning in baseballs they were given 30 Bushwick tickets. No one ever put anything over on Uncle Max, not even the framers of the city's blue laws. Before World War I it was illegal to charge admission to a baseball game on Sunday, so Uncle Max, who manufactured cigars before he took to freezing baseballs, sold scorecards and pencils at the gate for 50. And God forbid anyone should try to enter without buying.