Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 2010

KU dance professor Janet Hamburg falls to her death in New York City

A KU dance professor died in New York City Saturday. Janet Hamburg was nationally known for her work in movement analysis.

September 7, 2010, 9:55 a.m. Updated September 7, 2010, 11:45 a.m.

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Janet Hamburg, pictured in this 2005 file photo, died unexpectedly in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 4 when she fell onto a construction platform.

Janet Hamburg, pictured in this 2005 file photo, died unexpectedly in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 4 when she fell onto a construction platform.

Kansas University officials today are mourning the loss of a dance professor who gained international recognition for her work in movement analysis and its applications in treating Parkinson’s disease.

Janet Hamburg, who had a member of the KU faculty since 1979, died unexpectedly on Saturday in New York City.

Police said 59-year-old Janet Hamburg died Saturday after falling onto a construction platform. They also said it was a suicide.

In a statement, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little called the loss “deep and painful” for the university community.

“Janet Hamburg was an extraordinary teacher and researcher who had earned her colleagues’ highest respect, here and around the world,” Gray-Little said. “Countless people, particularly those in the Parkinson’s community, benefited immeasurably from her devotion to dance, exercise and movement analysis.”

She centered her research in the field of movement analysis, in which she was certified by the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York. She received the institute’s first Laban Award for Creative Achievement by an artist or researcher in 2004 and was named a senior research associate.

Her research resulted in “Motivating Moves for People with Parkinson’s,” an exercise video and DVD for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Michelle Heffner-Hayes, professor and chair of dance, said that while that work garnered her international recognition, her passion for dance was what leaves an impression at KU.

“Her absence among us is unthinkable. Her permanent mark is on all that we do,” Heffner-Hayes said. “Her support and enthusiasm have been a force, an anchor. She will be keenly missed.”

Hamburg is survived by her partner of 30 years, Lynn Bretz, of Lawrence; two aunts and many cousins. Memorial contributions may be made to the Janet Hamburg Dance Scholarship in care of KU Endowment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. A previous version of this story did not describe Hamburg's death as a suicide.

Comments

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

You know, at some point the LJ World will finally realize that not all stories must have comments.

The Eagle's site removes the comments function from sensitive stories. Kudos to them.

PlayNiceWithOthers 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree with you. The KC Star doesn't enable commenting on all stories either.

liberallibrarian 4 years, 8 months ago

Bob, I agree. Seems like stories involving fatal accidents should have the comment section removed. Sure, 95% of people will come on to offer condolences, but there will always be the anonymous 5% who choose to flaunt their stupidity in a public forum.

I only knew Ms. Hamburg peripherally- but, I must say this is a giant loss for the community. My heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Linda Aikins 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh this makes me so sad. I just talked to her last week and she waws amazing as always.

Darn Janet, I will miss you so very much, as will the world. Your work with parkinsons patients was so incredible.

thatonedude 4 years, 8 months ago

Really sad news. Worked with her on a few things, and she was a nice lady.

booklover2 4 years, 8 months ago

This is a tragic loss for the University of Kansas and the Lawrence community. She was an incredible woman.

orbiter 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Please inform me of what part of the usage agreement has been violated, that you removed my above post.

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Hadley_says 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kelly Johnson 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

On threads like this, I think all that's necessary is for someone to press the "suggest removal" button, regardless of the actual content of the post.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Hadley_says 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

thatonedude 4 years, 8 months ago

Like it or not, this is still a story in a local paper about a local woman dying unexpectedly. Do us all a favor and find another place to set your soapboxes.

BlackVelvet 4 years, 8 months ago

"you won't have much of a comments section anymore". You certainly have my permission to be the first to leave.

tracer1962 4 years, 8 months ago

R.I.P. Janet, You will be missed by all the people you have touched. God has a new angel. May she dance forever

true_patriot 4 years, 8 months ago

How sad. Just spoke with her a few weeks ago. Great human being who dedicated herself to helping others. Rest In Peace.

james bush 4 years, 8 months ago

This lady's death is indeed very sad, but the circumstances nonetheless do stir one's curiosity.

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

Is any additional detail available about the accident that lead to her death? All debate about LJW's editorial policies notwithstanding, it seems odd that a dance professor should die by "falling onto a construction platform." If a construction worker died by falling onto a construction platform, it would make sense. (Tragic, but understandable.) In this case, it just seems like there should be more to the story.

thatonedude 4 years, 8 months ago

I would assume they published what info was available to them.

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

That is obviously the case. The more basic issue is that neither AP nor LJW asked some obvious questions.

overthemoon 4 years, 8 months ago

My thoughts and condolences to the Lawrence Dance community. I know that so very many people have benefited from the exposure to the excellent dancers in our town that this is indeed a loss for all.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 8 months ago

Judging by your history of posting, this is not meant as praise, but rather as an "innocent" form of gay-bashing. I think your post (and my response to it) should be removed.

Andrea Hoag 4 years, 8 months ago

My condolences for her partner and family. None of our business what the details are - leave these folks to grieve in peace. LJW - when will you please disable comments on sensitive stories involving a person's death?

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

Py:

The point is that many of the redacted comments were not nasty. They were innocuous. Redacting them makes the thread seem far worse than it was. Many of the redacted items had nothing at all to do with the death. They had to do with the attitude of other commentators.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Thank you.

Many of my posts were removed.

If anybody has seen my posts before, they should know that I do not engage in hateful, derogatory posts - in fact, I go out of my way to do not do so, even if provoked.

One of my posts in fact included the comment that this was a tragic loss for those that knew her personally.

It is disturbing to me that the removed comments state that they have been removed for "violation of the usage agreement", but that the JW will not say how the agreement has been violated.

That leads me to think that they want to, in fact, remove posts at will regardless of any violation or lack thereof. This is disappointing - newspapers have been at the forefront of the fight for freedom of speech and against censorship for many years.

Disabling comments on a story would be an easier, and more equitable way of preventing people from being offended, without providing for arbitrary removal.

greenquarter 4 years, 8 months ago

"Finally, for all the words about the appropriateness and inappropriateness of personal expression in a situation (and within a context) such as this, I think it safe to conclude that Janet is beyond them. Someday, we all will be."

Someone once told me that funerals aren't for the dead but rather for the living (that is, you don't go to them for the deceased but rather to support the survivors), and I think that applies to this type of stories. Janet may be beyond these comments, but her family and friends are not. I hope they can find some peace in this tragic situation.

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

Some comments were removed for suggesting this was not an accident as implied.

Kris_H 4 years, 8 months ago

If I wanted anything more in this sad story, it would indeed be clarification of the accident itself.

But then I realize that the only reason I want to know that is simple curiousity, about the death of a woman I did not even know (but who sounds like someone I would have enjoyed knowing).

Rest in peace, Janet Hamburg.

jonas_opines 4 years, 8 months ago

Why do so many have such a lack of understanding about free speech?

wmathews 4 years, 8 months ago

Here's what is going on: Based on the sensitive nature of this story, comments that will not be allowed are any petty name calling, personal insults toward other users or Ms. Hamburg and sarcastic jokes and/or observations of the nature of Ms. Hamburg's death. Most comment responses to any of the above posts will also be taken down.

If more details unfold, we'll report them as necessary.

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

"observations of the nature of Ms. Hamburg's death" aren't allowed. Wow. In that case, you really should have disabled comments altogether. Yes, on the one hand, it's nobody's business how/why she died, but are you honestly surprised to see speculation? Expecting only condolences since internet posters are just so polite? Come on.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

How do "observations of the nature" of the death violate the usage agreement?

Many stories are sensitive in one way or another, and many comments may offend or upset people.

Newspapers have generally been at the forefront of promoting free and open debate and discussion.

wmathews 4 years, 8 months ago

We of course promote free and open debate and discussion. See some of the recent threads on Obama, Islam, Lew Perkins, etc. But on stories of a more delicate nature, we have a heavier hand. For example, we recently froze comments on a thread when three little girls died in an accident in Jefferson County. Moderating comments in a situation like this is nothing new to LJWorld.com.

onceinawhile 4 years, 8 months ago

On stories of a more delicate nature, why isn't it an option then to just disable comments to begin with?

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

booyalab 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

bastet 4 years, 8 months ago

Whitney and LJW---

Please, please, please consider disabling the comments section on stories like this one and the story about the boy killed last week. This forum is not a "right" and disabling comments has nothing to do with free speech. There is no comments forum on obituaries, for example.

bionbjonbee 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

At least one of the posts you've removed doesn't even violate any of your above criteria.

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

Me too -- all mine had was a suggestion to Whitney.

bionbjonbee 4 years, 8 months ago

Wow, my first post ever on this newspaper site was removed. All I'm saying is that a news story should contain all the known facts, not just the information that the newspaper chooses to release.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 8 months ago

What You Hear

When you've been told how someone left this world in ways incomprehensible to those of 'us' left behind, mourning our losses and surrounded by the blackest of night, remember what you hear is your own voice telling you what you'd never do, nor should another. But listen more closely, perhaps you'll hear something that resembles the truth. Forget about your own sounds of feR and longing so you can truly hear.

garyr 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

gatekeeper 4 years, 8 months ago

Thank you blueberries. Of course the UDK had more info and a much better article written about this.

Very sad.

SWJayhawk13 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

skinny 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

I doubt they'll follow up on that idea.

Given this thread, I would guess that the online editors wish to be able to remove any post, at any time, without giving any reasons.

Which kind of makes the idea of a "usage agreement" pointless.

Tom McCune 4 years, 8 months ago

My redacted comments related to the LJW's editorial policies and reporting quality. Nothing more.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

fiddleback 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

KCsFinest5 4 years, 8 months ago

I pray for her and her family. But (true or false) all aspects of the story must be addressed. And if a detective that follows the case says something, it needs to be on here. Just my two cents.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 8 months ago

what Tange said: please if you're going to remove posts, with implied sanction of the poster, you should cite the portion of the terms that was violated.


I have not yet looked at the Kansa's article.
no, I did not know this gifted woman.

however when one of us dies, we all lose. and we all naturally wish to know how such a woman died. for, perhaps, we can avoid thesame fate. or, we can mourn her more particularly if we know. or finally, perhaps we can help others avoid the same kind of death.
these are not wrong or bad motives for wishing to know how such a gifted woman came to fall on a construction platform.


other users or Ms. Hamburg and sarcastic jokes and/or observations of the nature of Ms. Hamburg's death. Most comment responses to any of the above posts will also be taken down.

If more details unfold, we'll report them as necessary.

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

it is unfortunately natural to wonder at such a death. so I think it is wrong to casually remove speculations about her death.

now, if someone posts claiming some kind of inside [wrong] knowledge or uses the death to denigrate the dead person, slash away at that comment.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kris_H 4 years, 8 months ago

Is there really such a thing as independent investigative reporting anywhere any more in any media? Seems to me they are all "owned," and not in a good way.

blueberries 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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