Author Deena Burton has thoroughly researched the life and times of Claire Holt (1901-1970). As a student and practitioner of classical Indonesian Dance, Deena lived in Java from 1976-1980 and specialized in the mask dances of Cerebon. She received her Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Columbia University in 1982, and created the Bali-Java Dance Theater. Deena helped to found the Javanese Gamelan Kusuma Laras at the NY Indonesian Consulate, choreographed and performed with Gamelan Son of Lion, Ping Chong, Asian-American, Balinese-American, and East-West Dance Theaters, danced with Music for Homemade Instruments, and enjoyed many other artistic collaborations.
Deena assembled rare historical films of Indonesian dance for the NY Library of Performing Arts and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to travel to Indonesia for further research. For her biography of Claire Holt, which was her doctoral thesis, Deena was awarded a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU in 2000. Deena taught at Eugene Lang College of the New School.
She died in 2005, after a year-long bout with cancer.