IRMGARD ELISABETH VOCK, daughter of Karl and Elisabeth Arnke was born in Hanover, Germany in 1915. At the age of 21, with 10 Marks in her pocket, she left her family and rode 200 miles on her bicycle to Dresden, Germany to study at the renowned Palucca Hochschule for Dance. She received a degree in Dance, Choreography and Dance Pedagogy and was licensed to teach physical education. Irmgard graduated in 1939 shortly before her teacher, Grete Palucca, was forced to close the school because of her Jewish heritage. During World War II she founded and directed a very successful School for Dance in Leibzig where she trained students for careers in performance and dance education. Her school was destroyed in a bombing raid at the end of the war. After the war, she opened a Palucca School in Stuttgart, Germany for professional and amateur dancers. In her school music, literature, anatomy and the history of art all served as a foundation for the education of a dancer. The focus was on the development of the mind, body and soul. During her career she danced as a soloist with the Dresden Symphony and performed on stages in Stuttgart, Munich and Leibzig until a foot injury ended her dance career. One of her dance critics wrote in the 1940: “Irmgard Vock is forging her own path. She has the courage to experiment. Dancing to the poetry of Goethe is a daring accomplishment and even a most sceptic critic must be fascinated by how she translated poetry into dance movements.” She closed her school in 1950 when her husband, Manfred Vock, a research chemist, was relocated to Northern Germany. Her husband’s career led to relocations to Spain, France and to the United States in 1959. In the 1970s she opened Downia Designers, a small down comforter company in her home in New Jersey. She made German-style comforters and pillows for interior designers in New Jersey and New York. She and her husband traveled throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, China and Indonesia. She retired from her business when she and her husband transformed their vacation home in Vermont into a permanent residence in the 1990s. There she enjoyed gardening, sewing, making hooked rugs, enjoying the company of friends of the United Church of Lincoln, and her dog Zoey. She was an avid read and when her eyesight failed she listened to books on tape. With the help of the wonderful nurses and aides of Addison County Home Health and the volunteers from Meals on Wheels, she remained independent until the last year of her life.
Irmgard Vock approached her life with optimism and enthusiasm and she embraced all her opportunities and challenges with creativity, artistry, energy and vision. She herself stated that “above all, a dancer must have the personality and a presence that is taken from the depths of her soul and her intellect.”
Her husband predeceased her in 1999. Irmgard Vock is survived by daughters Sibylle Brandrup, Annette (Thomas) Lucas, Isabel (Donald) Hart, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A celebration of Irmgard Vock’s life will be held at the United Church of Lincoln, Lincoln, VT on Sunday, August 6th at 1 p.m. followed by a burial at Maple Cemetery in Lincoln. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Addison County Home Health and Hospice. PO Box 754, Middlebury, VT 05753. To send online condolences to her family please visit brownmcclayfuneralhomes.com