Born into a family of amateur musicians, Saida Gerrard grew up studying dance and music. Beginning at the Peretz School in Toronto, her dance teachers included Maude McCann, Nora Griffiths and Amy Sternberg. She also studied Dalcroze Eurhythmics with Madeleine Boss Lasserre at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. In the 1930s, Gerrard travelled to New York City and, under scholarship, trained with Hanya Holm at the newly opened Mary Wigman School. In New York she also studied with Martha Graham, Margaret Craske and Fe Alf as well as Hebraic dance with Benjamin Zemach and composition with Louis Horst. She returned to Toronto frequently to perform and teach and was featured in the Promenade Symphony Concerts many times. Thousands turned up at Varsity Arena for her staging of The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1934). Other important works include Death and Transfiguration (1935) with lighting by Herman Voaden; Dance Suite - Songs of Unrest (1935); Hunger (1935) set to percussion accompaniment; Negro Spirituals (1935); Sea Shanties (c. 1937) set to music composed by her husband, Aube Tzerko; Hostages, 1942 (1942); and Die Naye Hagodah (Glory of the Warsaw Ghetto) (1949) choreographed to Max Helfman's choral tone poem. Die Naye Hagodah debuted in Toronto using dancers from the New Dance Theatre but it was also later set in Detroit and Chicago. The Machine (1938) was an ice ballet Gerrard produced for the Toronto Skating Club. As a performer, Gerrard danced with Charles Weidman's company and her own New York Children's Theatre, among others. She settled in Los Angeles in 1951 after collaborating there with composer Max Helfman. She worked with the Guild Opera Company, taught at Eugene Loring's School of American Dance, staged work for the Idyllwild Arts Foundation and in 1960 began teaching at the University of Judaism. Her work at the university lent stability to her company of dancers and enabled her to present this group in university performances. In the mid-1980s, Gerrard formed the Heritage Dance Company, which focussed on works related to her Jewish heritage.
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