Murray Louis Receives Fifth Honarary Doctorate
Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia, November 4, 2006
Murray Louis was awarded his fifth honorary Doctor of Arts degree November 4, 2006, by Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. The day was propitiousit was Murrays eightieth birthday. His amazing vitality carried him through a gala dinner at which he was honored by university administrators and dance faculty, a dance concert, the formal academic presentation, and a reception complete with birthday cake-cutting. Student dancers did not pass up the photo opportunity and Murray was patience personified, embracing them in pairs as they crowded around for snapshots.
The highlight of the concert was a performance of Murrays Bach Suite. Kimberly Gibilisco, Shenandoah faculty and former member of Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance, garnered a grant from American Masterpieces: Dance, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, to fund the reconstruction. Alberto del Saz reconstructed the work and Frank Garcias original costumes were lovingly recreated. Coached by Kim, who had performed Bach Suite often, the student cast performed superbly.
Murray built his brief acceptance speech around the topic of the authority conferred by dance training. Anyone who remembers his teaching will recall how the students clustered around him after class to gather in his wisdom. The picture was repeated as Shenandoah students surrounded him after his speech. Murray cut two birthday cakes at the reception, one proclaimed his birthday, and the other the fiftieth birthday of Bach Suite, born in 1956.
Murray has sent his framed doctoral diploma to the Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis Papers Archive at Ohio University to join four others awarded by Rutgers University, Ohio University, Boston Conservatory, and Indiana University.
Claudia Gitelman, November 15, 2006