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Kathryn Etienne; Ran Hollywood Dance Studio

September 02, 1995

Kathryn Charisse Etienne, 93, known professionally as Madame Etienne, who operated a Hollywood dance studio catering to film stars for more than half a century. Born in Greece and raised in Paris, Mme. Etienne danced in Europe and later on the U.S. vaudeville circuit with her parents and 10 siblings as the Charisse Ballet Troupe. They performed the opening act for prima ballerina Anna Pavlova at New York's Hippodrome and were greeted in Washington by President Calvin Coolidge. Marrying Russian-born Count Stephen Tshemensky in 1926, Mme. Etienne adopted the French spelling of his first name as her professional surname. She began a dance studio in Detroit, and then in 1942 set up shop at 1717 Vine St. in Hollywood with her husband as business manager and pianist. A onetime sister-in-law of dancer-actress Cyd Charisse, Mme. Etienne taught dance to film stars Mitzi Gaynor, Vera Ellen, Virginia Mayo, Gale Storm and Eleanor Donahue. The dancer and teacher, who at age 92 danced a minuet in a production she choreographed last year at the Ebell Theater, was a longtime president of the Opera Reading Club of Hollywood and of the Easter Sunrise Service Guild for the Hollywood Bowl. Last spring's Easter service at the bowl was dedicated to Mme. Etienne. On Aug. 21 in Los Angeles of a heart attack.

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