Charlotte Perry

Charlotte “Kingo” Perry and Portia Mansfield left a positive imprint on the arts and culture in Colorado and the nation for over 70 years. They had unprecedented influence on vaudeville, Broadway, dance (particularly modern dance), education, recreation, and documentary motion pictures. Perry and Mansfield met at Smith College in 1910. During a summer visit to the Perry home in Denver, Perry’s father included the two women on a hunting trip to Northwest Colorado. It was during this time that they began dreaming of a dance camp in the Rocky Mountains. “The Ladies,” as this duo were known, founded the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs in 1913. No other dance or theater camp in the United States offered their unique combination of activities. Along with creative and educational programs of dance, drama, art, music, and writing, during the early years the camp offered pack trips, tennis, swimming, overnight camping outings, exploration of Indian artifacts and ceremonies, and English and Western styles of horseback riding. The camp also became a rating center for horsemanship. Today it is the oldest continuous dance school and camp in the nation and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.