Because Nikolais taught his company dancers in his classes, freeing them to move directly to the stimuli of image and idea rather than teaching them patterned movement, he could draw from them the motion unique to each of his ballets. The practice of such moving is the stuff of primal creativity.
In order to formulate a comprehensive statement of Nikolais's methods of teaching, we organized the Conference on the Nikolais Aesthetic, held at Bearnstow in Mount Vernon, Maine, August 915, 2009. There the attendees, all who had studied with him or had been members of his company, pursued the various aspects of his classes. Each contributed by teaching a class and defining the aesthetic. We had a great time schmoozing at dinner where, of course, the main topic was dance, dance, dance. Did any of us swim sans suit?
Those who were there can attest to the legacy of the freedom to create that Nik gave us.