“Nikolais’s students, his company dancers, and his creative colleagues are
deeply grateful for his generous giving of his vision and his artistry — to us
and to the world. We thank Nik for being our teacher, guide, and inspiration.”

—Ruth E. Grauert

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Bearnstow Journal offers articles on the Nikolais esthetic and the arts.  Editor Ruth Grauert worked for Alwin Nikolais for forty years.  She has created lighting designs for many dancers in that discipline.  A published poet and essayist, Ms. Grauert is the executive director of Bearnstow, an arts and nature summer place in Mt. Vernon, Maine.

Bearnstow Journal is published by Bearnstow, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.  The site’s development and maintenance are dependent on your tax-deductible contributions.  You may contribute online though PayPal (PayPal membership not required); click PayPal button on the right. Or mail checks to Bearnstow, 83 Sanford Place, Jersey City, NJ 07307.

See also the Nikolais/Louis Alumni on Facebook.

Bearnstow is registered in Amazon’s Smile Program and receives a small donation every time you buy an eligible product. Log in with the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/01-0271792 and select Bearnstow as your charity.

Historical Photos

A few images from Utah 1964

Charlie and Joan Woodbury owned this church building in Park City, Utah, and held dance workshops there for three years, 1964–1966, with Nik as the guest artist. In 1962 and ’63, Nik and Murray had come to teach workshops in the old dance building on campus at the University of Utah. By 1964, Charlie had finished remodeling the church, creating a studio with two glorious spaces for classes. Tandy Beal came to one of the workshops held in Park City as did Winston Gray and Maida Withers. These were great times when Nik was exploring his own philosophy and writing his book. Back then the church was called “Charlie’s Church” and sometimes “The Woodbury Church.” Now the building, which has been painted blue and turned into a condo with about 15 units, is called “The Blue Church Lodge.”

Below are a few promo shots taken by a photographer from the Tribune for a story about our workshops.

(Hold mouse over images to pause slide changes.)

News and Announcements

New Journal Article

After visiting Joan Woodbury and the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Utah last spring, the German Tanz magazine editor Arnd Wesemann, already fascinated with the Nikolais heritage, reviewed that heritage and its impact from a European viewpoint. We thank Joan Woodbury for sending us the article and are pleased to have it translated for Bearnstow Journal by Emma Lewis Thomas. See Alwin Nikolais, by Arnd Wesemann, Tanz magazine, July 2014.


Hollow, choreographed and designed by Gerald Otte at Hunter College ~ Photo: Sabrina Polanco-Ferreyra

Journal Articles

Alwin NIkolias and Ruth Grauert in a lighting rehearsal for Vaudeville of the Elements at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 1965
Photo by Eric Sutherland
  1. Essays on the art of Alwin Nikolais, by Ruth E. Grauert, comprise Volume I.  Included are Nikolais’ use of light, sound, properties, and motion; a comparison between Nikolais and the Bauhaus; and a brief historic overview and current thought on stage lighting and dance.  Go to the Index of Volume I articles.

  2. Essays on Mary Wigman:  Volume II of Bearnstow Journal includes: Wigman’s own article on her early experience with Rudolph von Laban, Susan Buirge’s interview with Hanya Holm about Hanya’s early experiences at the Wigman School, Joan Woobury’s and Beverly Blossom’s accounts of their school year with Wigman in Berlin, reprints of Joan Woodbury’s 1956 articles on Wigman from Dance Observer, notes from Peggy Chambers, Julie Hamilton Pleus, and John Wilson, and finally excerpts from Mary Wigman’s letters to Joan Woodbury from 1957 to 1970.

  3. A Dance Course Curriculum by Dale Thompson.  Dale Thompson (NDT 1978–1983) has developed a sixteen-week dance curriculum, which also includes a comprehensive reading list.  Click for more information and downloading links.

The Chatterbox

Read the e-mail discussion forum of former Nikolais/Louis dancers, students, and technical staff members.

Special Links on This Site

You may submit articles, contributions to The Chatterbox, and poetry for inclusion on this site by e-mail to Ruth Grauert.  Please include a short biography and any other information you may consider pertinent.

This Web site (BearnstowJournal.org) is designed and maintained by Jim Van Abbema, who was associated as sound engineer, stage manager, and technical director for the Nikolais and Louis companies from 1968 to 1975.  He is currently a Webmaster and copy editor.  For questions about this Web site or exploring the possibility of designing or renovating your own site, e-mail Jim.

Tandy Beal, Mimi Garrard, Kathy Kroll, Phyllis Lamhut, Sheila Mason, Helen Kent Nicoll, Gerald Otte, Audrey Ross, and Joan Woodbury have helped us maintain Bearnstow Journal over the past year.

All images and written material on Bearnstow Journal are copyrighted. Reproduction of any item from this site is prohibited without prior written permission from Bearnstow.

See also the Nikolais/Louis Alumni Facebook page.