This important seven-branch ceremonial menorah was designed by the master designer/silversmith Harold Nielsen and made by George Jensen Silversmithy. This symbolic example of Judaica in the Art Deco style was commissioned by the Chalif School Alumni and students to honor the silver anniversary of the Louis Chalif Normal School of Dance, March 30th, 1930.
Louis Harvey Chalif (1876-1948) has been called "the first Russian ballet master to teach in America," by Variety, as well as the "dean of New York dance teachers" during the first half of the 20th Century, by the New York Times. Dance Magazine remarked in 1949 that "even during his lifetime he had become a legendary figure in the dance. Born in Odessa, Russia, Chalif studied ballet with Thomas L. Nijinsky, father of the legendary Vaslev Nijinsky and became a ballet master at the Odessa Theatre in 1897. He immigrated to New York City in 1904 where he danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in 1905-1906. Louis Chalif established the Chalif Normal School of Dancing in 1905, which was one of the earliest in the United States to instruct teachers in dance. Chalif was the author of many textbooks on dance technique, folk dance and was credited with 1200 dance compositions and arrangements. He was also a member of numerous Jewish organizations and of Temple Rodeph Shalom. Within the American educational system, Chalif was a major influence on the teaching of dance. Among his prominent students were Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, Buddy Epson, Alice Faye and Marion Davies to name a few. The Louis H. Chalif Normal School of Dancing was built in 1916 at 163-165 W. 57th Street to the design of architects George A. & Henry Boehm, now a New York City landmark building as is George Boehm's Jewish Daily Forward Building of 1912. In 1930 the New York Georg Jensen showroom was at 169 W. 57th Street, next door to the Chalif School of Dance.