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Anne Niles

Like Margaret Allen, Anne Niles was one of those lucky few who were able to live, work and study with Martha Russell at her seaside home. After Mrs. Russell died in 1951, when Margaret Allen began sponsoring a week-long workshop at her estate near Berea, Kentucky, Anne Niles was soon requested to help become a part of the instructional team. Most notably, she co-authored the book "Creative Motion" together with Margaret Allen in an effort to record the work for future generations.Through her efforts and the work of countless others, Creative Motion study has been passed from teacher to student through the years, and continues to this day.


Born in Baltimore, Maryland and living in a professional family as a doctor’s daughter, Anne Williams Niles showed no disposition to carve out a career. Nevertheless she entered into her conventional schooling with enthusiasm, under the excellent leadership of Miss Edith Hamilton at the Bryn Mawr School.

Beginning with the nursery songs she learned from her mother, she was always interested in music and early on began taking piano lessons. There was little encouragement, however, until her final year of school, when she came under the inspiring influence of Martha Russell, who opened for her a whole new dimension of understanding.

She continued her studies at Wellesley College, until her marriage to Emory H. Niles, a young lawyer who later served Baltimore as Chief Judge. They had a son, two daughters and eventually eight grandchildren. Even before leaving Wellesley she volunteered at a settlement house run by the Alumnae Association. Wellesley was followed by work at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, serving on boards such as Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters, Fund Raising and teaching in church school. Always there was concern for social justice and peace. In every field she encountered the same conflicting interests and waste of effort, especially in educational areas.

Fortunately, Mrs. Russell, from whom she had learned the principles of Creative Motion, returned to Baltimore, so that lessons with her could be resumed. Thus it became possible to learn more about the process of teaching by assisting in Mrs. Russell's class work.

Later she began teaching on her own, working at first with small children’s groups and later with adults. Attending the annual Windswept Workshops under Opal Gilpatrick and Margaret Allen she deepened her understanding by being both participant and teacher.

Her experience convinced her that Creative Motion offered practical and effective ways of dealing not just with music, but with the varied activities and problems of life. She wrote that by harmonizing mental impulses and body responses Creative Motion “teaches us the path from inner working of governing idea to outer expression.”

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