In Memoriam: Emma Lewis Thomas, 19322021
Emma Lewis Thomas, professor emerita in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, passed away Thursday, September 16, 2021 at the age of 89. Her fields of expertise included German literature, modern dance, and Italian Renaissance dance. See her extended obituary, including notes from Joan Woodbury. Thomas is the author of My Mary: Personal Reminiscences of Learning from Wigman, published on this site in 2019.
In Memoriam: Doris Mary Caravaglia, 19292021
Doris Caravaglia, 92, passed away peacefully in Richmond, Virginia on May 8, 2021. After earning her degree in music in 1951, she set her sights on her lifelong love, New York City. At the same time she was falling in love with the city, she fell in love with Tom Caravaglia. They bonded over their passion for the arts, specifically opera and classical music. Most of the Nikolais-Louis family knew Doris as always being at Tom’s side, the forever gracious hostess of many reunion gatherings at Tom and Doris’s Broadway loft. See her complete obituary.
In Memoriam: Kelly Roth, October 23, 1953February 19, 2021
A slide show of the celebrants at the party
For more time to read captions hold mouse over images to pause slide changes.
The crowd sings Happy Birthday (again)!
Celebrating Beverly Blossom
June 1, 2018: At the 92nd Street Y Douglas Nielsen, Ruth Grauert, Coral Martindale, and Phyllis Lamhut talk about the incomparable Beverly Blossom.
Photo by Clarence Brooks
Murray Louis Receives The Martha Hill Lifetime Achievement Award, November 30, 2015
The award was graciously accepted on his behalf by Alberto Del Saz who offered a personal message from Louis with whom he had visited earlier that day.
Lest anyone forget Murrays amazing grace and fluidity and delightful style, a video was shown of him dancing excerpts from his own choreography.
Chevalier de la Légion dhonneur
The President of France nominated Susan Buirge to the rank of Chevalier (Knight) in the National Order of the Legion of Honorthe highest distinction of France. The nomination was proposed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in particular for the work she has done to further Franco-Japanese relations.
On December 2, an official ceremony was held at the French Embassy in Tokyo where the Chevalier insignia was presented by the Ambassador. The ceremony was followed by a reception for invited guests in the garden of the Embassy.
Susan Buirge taught Composition Workshop: Ancient Kagura and Contemporary Choreography at Bearnstow, August 915, 2015.
Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
695 Park Ave, New York, New York
Sunday, November 1, 2015
With guest artists from around the country, the Memorial Gala is a tribute to Beverly Blossom on the anniversary of her passing. Blossoms best work will be shown on this program. Solo artists Douglas Nielsen and Betsy Fisher will perform Losing You and Blossoms signature solo Dads Ties, respectively. Dancers from the University of Illinois will perform her group work Brides. Ella & Mark Magruder, former company members of Beverly Blossom, dance her earliest work Black Traveler as well as the gender-bending Besame Mucho and the poignant Last Bow. Henning Rübsam recreates Shards, a poetic solo Blossom first performed in homage to her late mentor Alwin Nikolais. Former fellow Nikolais dancer Christine Reisner will join Rübsam in Fan Dance, both danced when members of Blossoms company.
Lighting design by Philip Treviño in collaboration with Blossom's long-time collaborator Ruth Grauert.
For a review of the evening and additional photos, see
IMPRESSIONS OF: The Beverly Blossom Memorial Gala by Christine Jowers, The Dance Enthusiast, November 3, 2015
Mimi Garrard assembled works on video from 1964 to 2014, which span her prolific career as a dancer with the legendary Alwin Nikolais, as a choreographer, and later as a video artist. The program also features the work of Alwin Nikolais and James Seawright. It includes work created outdoors and in the studio, in color and black and white, from pure movement to theater. This video collection was presented at Pentacle in New York City on December 11, 2014 and at Bearnstow on July 3, 2015. See Kinetic Cinema.
From the Horses Mouth Celebration of Murray Louis
Many more photos can be found on the Nikolais/Louis Alumni Facebook page.
Ruth Grauert Mounts Shapes and Shadows
on Centenary College Students
On April 1, 2015, Shapes and Shadows was performed by student dancers on the campus of Centenary College. See Modern Dance Icon Ruth Grauert Sets Original Work on Centenary Theater Students
In Memoriam Luise Wykell, 19422014
Luise H. Wykell, dancer, teacher, choreographer and devoted supporter of the performing arts, passed away on December 27, 2014, after a year-long battle with cancer. See her memorial page.
She is pictured here at the March 2003 reunion of Nikolais-Louis alumni to celebrate the life of Frankie Garcia and commemorate the tenth anniversary of Nikolaiss death.
The Life of Phyllis Lamhut Celebrated by From the Horse's Mouth
Saturday, November 8, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Tisch School of the Arts/Dance, New York City
In celebration of her work as dancer, choreographer, teacher, mentor, and overall force in the dance community, From the Horses Mouth dedicated its theater/dance event to Phyllis Lamhut in collaboration with Tisch Dance. Proceeds will benefit The Phyllis Lamhut Tisch Dance Scholarship Fund.
Bearnstow Salutes its Resident Artists!
Bearnstows Young Artist Residency Program is designed to give young dancers a summer of total contact with professional dance instruction and to give Bearnstow a cadre of capable assistants who help maintain the operation of the camp. During the course, our young artists have designed programs and promotional material, conducted research, composed sound scores, choreographed their own works, and created dance videos. In every sense of the word this ten-week dance intensive is a graduate-level course in contemporary dance.
In Memoriam: Mary Anthony
November 11, 1916May 31, 2014
In 1985, Jennifer Dunning called her one of the city's most highly respected modern dance teachers. New York Citys great dance legend, Mary Anthony, passed away at age 97 on Saturday, May 31.
See memorial and remembrances.
From Centenary College’s Centenarian, Summer 2014
Photos by Diane Belverio
My party on March 22nd was two days before I turned 95. My niecesAmy, Diane and Ruthhosted it after a grand niece, Arianne, had cleaned the house. It was Diane, the family baker, who made the cake. Of course, there was a house full of relatives since my sister had four children and they have followed suit with their own. The youngest great grand is still a babe in arms.
My longest and oldest friend, Mary Hyde Saunders, who was two years behind me at college, came by public transportation from Long Island. At 94 (verging on 95, birthday on April 1), she did very well until the bus driver let her out at the wrong bus stop. But being hep (as we used to say back then), she got on her cell phone and was easily rescued.
And dancersPhyllis Lamhut, from the Henry Street Playhouse days in 1948, was the longest relation in that category. There were many from the Nikolais Dance Theater, some of whom I have not seen in years (old road tour roommates Lynn Levine and Fred Timm) were such a happy surprise. And some folks went to great lengths to get here. That really is an honor! Tom Caravaglia and wife Doris (the Nikolais dance photographer who hosted my 80th party in their studio) were able to come because Jim Van Abbema and Gerald Otte borrowed a car to get them here. Dancer friend Virginia Dillon, from Philadelphia, enticed a friend with a car to bring her. Mimi Garrard and Jimmy Seawright hired a limo and driver to get them here from upstate New York. And Peter Koletzke (who happened to be in the area on business) appeared and was technically the one who had come the longest distance, all the way from California. (And also from California came several bottles of wine, compliments of Suzy McDermaid Fridell and husband Squire from their vineyard.)
And a number of folks who are BearnstowClaire Porter, K.J. Holmes, Terry Conlon and morecame, some before party time because of other commitments. (I wont try to list you all, lest I miss someone, but I have a fairly complete a list below.) Lynn Needle and others from Art of Motion helped to make a noisy, congenial group. Each and everyone there made for the great time had by all.
But after all this I ask, What IS 95? Whats new?
Ruth / Reg
Family members included: Amelia, Amy, Arianne, Cedric, Diane, Fred, Heather, Jason, Jenn, Jolene, Keira, Kellie, Larry, Laura, Linna, Little Mike, Matt and Christian, Mike, Millie, Rob, Roy, Ruth, and Sarah.
All the others (key to abbreviations below): Irving Burton (HSP, Paperbag Players), Tom and Doris Caravaglia (NDT), Ruby and Nick de Chellis (Sanford Place neighbors), Terry Conlon (B) , Virginia Dillon (HSP), Mary Therese Duffy (B), Debbie Faria (1983 tenant), Olivia Galgano (AOM), K.J. Holmes (BW), Peter Koletzke (MLDC), Phyllis Lamhut (HSP, NDT, MLDC, PLDC), Lynn Needle (NDT, AOM), Gerald Otte (NDT, BB), Claire Porter (BW), Mary Hyde Saunders (Ursinus College 1941), Linn and Peter Schlaffer (B), Mimi Garrard and Jim Seawright (HSP), Robert Small (MLDC), Fred Timm (NDT), Jim Van Abbema (NDT, MLDC, BB), and Gary Wittner (B)
We gratefully acknowledge those who contributed to
the Bearnstow Scholarship Fund in honor of Ruths 95th birthday.
Maryann Archard, Gladys Bailin Stern, Sarah Beers, Madonna Belanger Wasco, Linda Combs, Jan Connor, Susie Creitz, Virginia Dillon, Janet Erickson Bird, Kathy Gaedje, Ruth Gibbs, Andrea Kaufman, Peter Koletzke, Phyllis Lamhut, Sarah Lougee, Suzy McDermaid Fridell, Shiela Mason, Gerald Otte, Nicholaus Pekar, Claire Porter, Christine Reisner, Barbara Risen Gottschalk, Pat Rosenberg, Linn Schlaifer, Jim and Mimi Seawright, Gloria Smith, Amy Spears; Jeanette Stoner, Fred Timm, and Joan Woodbury
Joan Woodbury Honored among the
Fifteen Most Influential Artists in Utah
On Friday, February 21, 2004, Utah Arts & Museums hosted Utahs 15: The States Most Influential Artists at the Rio Gallery in Salt Lake City. This exhibit is a culmination of the Utahs 15 project that began a year ago when the public was asked to nominate artists they believe have influenced the landscape of Utah art and culture.
Joan Woodbury, long-time friend of the Nikolais-Louis family, and co-founder with Shirley Ririe of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, can be seen in the second row center of the banner. The Ririe-Woodbury Company has mounted and toured many Nikolais works. (Click image to enlarge.)
Described as An iconoclast who has performed to great acclaim and inspired others for decades, Sara Shelton Mann (Nikolais and Louis companies 19661972) has been awarded the San Francisco Dance Film Fesival Lifetime Achievement Award, a Goldie (= Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery Award).
The San Francisco Bay Guardian, in a special issue, is celebrating nine emerging Bay Area artists and groups who are producing exciting, intelligent, provacative work.
See Goldies 2014 Lifetime Achievement: Sara Shelton Mann (02/18/2014)
On August 30 participants in Bearntows Young Artist Residency Program performed at the Union Hall in nearby Vienna, Maine. The works were developed from the summer dance workshops, taught by Robin Gilmore, Ruth Grauert, K.J. Holmes, Peter Kyle, Véronique MacKenzie, Lynn Needle, Claire Porter, and Dorothy Vislocky.
Pictured left is a scene from Fireflies (2012), reconstructed for this performance by Nicole Garlando and performed by Karina Culloton, Adam Kerbel, Heriberto Mendoza, and Cristina Woehlert; design by Ruth Grauert. Download program (PDF).
On the afternoon of Friday, August 9, as the Claire Porter Workshop was preparing for the evening showing of the week's dances, the skies opened up over the Bearnstow camp in Mount Vernon, Maine. The normally peaceful Daniels Brook that laces the stretch of forest between the parking lot and the camps buildings became a torrent, washing out the log bridge over the brook.
An extension ladder covered with planks was set in place to serve as a temporary bridge, enabling a few devoted dance afficionados to make their way over the water to Bearnstows Maine Hall for the evenings performance.
Phyllis Lamhut Receives Distinguished Teaching Award
See the video 80 Faces: Eighty Years.
Eighty Stories on YouTube.
Ruth Grauert Receives Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Dr. Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, President of Centenary College, made the following introduction:
Ruth E. Grauert, would you please join me to receive your honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree?In her acceptance speech, Ruth paid tribute to her teachers at Centenary:
I do indeed thank you for honoring me. In turn, I feel I must acknowledge those teachers of Centenary Academy in the 1930s who laid the foundation for my professional life: Mrs. Olive Herring, who made it possible for me to study various dance techniques instead of volley ball or tennis; Miss Couch, who taught public speaking, technical theater and acting; and Dr. Louise Omwake, my life-long friend, who taught me to think clearly and to write succinctly. These are the tools of my profession for which you honor me, and for which, in all humility, I must honor them.Louise Omwake Eckerson is the author of Voyage of the Invader, the story of a schooner voyage in the summer of 1941 from California to Hawaii. The story was first published in 2008 here on Bearnstow Journal.
January 1731, 2013
I flew into Guadalajara, was met by Emmanuel Beccera (Beanstow intern for two seasons), and then bussed to Colima. There, Nitzia Vieyra (four-season intern) took me to the Fobos Studio, where I stayed in their guest room complete with kitchen. The next day, Adriana León (two-season intern at Bearnstow) and her husband, Alex (one-season intern), and Karla and Vero (both Bearnstow interns) with their friends took me on an outing near Colimas volcano.
In the course of my stay, I audited classes at the university (Graham technique, ballet, Limón technique), watched a rehearsal of a work by Alex and Adriana, audited ballet and folkloric classes in studios in town. (Colima must have more dance per capita than any other city of its size.) I also visited two festivals with Alex and Adriana in nearby towns. (Mexico goes in for festivals!) The first was to select Queen for the Year. Alex's cousin won the title amidst mad cheering of the crowd. The second was a folk dance festival that included a folk company friendly with Fobos. They did alright with their Mexican folkloric, but one group presented the hula. I turned away and watched a group of men fly from their 100-foot pole around and around. Much better!
I saw a rehearsal and the premiere of this seasons Ballet Folklórico de México (see review). And finally, I had a folkloric music concert just for me in the Fobus studio on my last night. Happy stuff.
Observed from the bus on my leaving: the Colima volcano sending a farewell plume into the sky.
Bearnstow Dancers Perform in Mexico, December 2012
FoBos, a project of the larger Casa de las Artes Proyecto Ensamble, invited me to participate as the first international artist in their festival, the Encuentro de Danza Contemporánea: Frontera Occidente (Contemporary Dance Festival: Western Frontiers), in Colima. I was in Colima from December 5 to 9, and while there I performed my new evening-length solo, 100 DAYS in the theater at Casa de las Artes, followed by a Q & A,, which Nitzia Viera moderated beautifully. On the following night I performed Frail Demons in the beautiful and historic (19th century) Teatro Hidalgo, a tiered, European-style opera house in the center of Colima. FoBos performed a work of their own by Artistic Director Henrry Tema to round out the program. In addition, I taught two master classes to the FoBos company as well as other dancers from the Colima community, including students in the dance department at the University of Colima. On my last night there, I participated in a roundtable discussion with three other artists: Vivian Cruz (a dance-film artist from Mexico City, a former dancer with Ultima Vez, Wim Vandekeybuss company in Beligium), Henrry Tema, and Adriana León (a professor from the University of Colima Dance Department and former teacher to nearly all the dancers involved in the FoBos/Casa de las Artes organization.
Peter returns to Bearnstow next summer, July 1420, to conduct his workshop, Slow Tempo.
Nitzia Vieyra has been an intern at Bearnstow for four years. She is a graduate in dance from the University of Colima, Mexico, where she is has been teaching as well as performing with the FoBos company. She will return to Bearnstow with members of FoBos August 2531 where the company will perform at Bearnstow and in the immediate area. The company is available for additional performances September 17.
Dave Brubeck Remembered, 19202012
In Memoriam ~ Claudia Gitleman
In the southwest corner of Main Hall on the campgrounds of Bearnstow on Parker Pond stands an old grand piano, whose rear leg is a tree trunk, carefully measured and cut to the right size. The piano has stood there (with its log leg) since 1946 when the camp was first opened as Bearnstow. As you can imagine, it doesnt get moved around too much.
Bearnstow alumni may have been told the story of Bearnstows peg-leg piano during one of those many dinner conversations, but in case you are an alumnus who hasnt heard about it, or you have yet to visit this magnificent place in the Maine woods, this is the storyincluding what the famous Big Band leader Guy Lombardo had to do with it!
Une vie dans l'espace de la danse
Titos Class at the Art of Motion Studio
On March 25, 2012, Alberto Delsaz taught a good Nikolais Technique master class at Art of Motion, Lynn Needles studio, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. During the class he detailed the Nikolais priniciples of space, motion, and release. Then Murray Louis spoke urging the class to create, create and then, after having given a good performance, congratulate yourself, because you will know when you have fulfilled your statement. Tom and Doris Caravaglia honored us all by being there. After the class Lynn hosted a small group at a nearby restaurant where they celebrated Ruth Grauerts 93rd birthday. Ruth Grauert
On Saturday, June 25, 2011, Global Water Dances was performed at Bearnstow in Mount Vernon, Maine, by recent graduates in dance and younger campers who have studied dance during summers at Bearnstow. The ensemble performed the motions of waterthe rolling and cresting of waves, the serenity of smooth surfaces, the lightness of splashes, the drama of turbulent waters, and the flowing of rivers and brooks. Their danced celebration of water was accompanied by the dancers own use of percussion and by the music of an Indian singing bowl and finger cymbals. The presentation ended with audience participation in the motion and a talk by Clyde Walton, an environmental engineer from the Kennebec Land Trust. Pat Onion
Former Nikolais Student Martha Howe Dies at 84 in Vermont
We learned of the death of Martha Howe Gogel on August 11, 2011. She studied with Alwin Nikolais at the Henry Street Playhouse in 1949, and is pictured in photos on the Histortical Photos page. She was the cofounder of Lands Sake, an organization whose mission is to connect people to the land. See obituary.
In Memoriam ~ Annelise Mertz, 19182011
Professor Emerita, Performing Arts Department, Washington Univerity, St. Louis, Annelise Mertz was a celebrated teacher, performer, choreographer, and champion for the arts. See obituary and memorial service tribute.
The Alwin Nikolais Centennial Alumni Concerts
The Nikolais Centennial Alumni Concerts, produced by Bearnstow, were held at Hunter College in New York City on December 3 and 4, 2010. See slide show of photos and program.
The Nikolais Centennial Souvenir Booklet, created especially for the Alumni Concerts held at Hunter College in New York City on December 3 and 4, 2010, is offered post-paid for $10 (or $7.60 for Nikolais-Louis alumni). The Booklet contains previously unpublished pictures of Nik at work, plus photos and bios of the concert participants. To order a copy please write Bearnstow Administraiton.
On June, 2010, the artwork of Ruth Grauert was on display in the Alumni Weekend Art Exhibition at her alma mater, Ursinus College. Viewers were treated to a slideshow of cyclorama projections Ruth has created for dances she has designed. The images have been made a permanent part of the Berman Museum of Art collection on the college campus. See a review of Ruths exhibit by Virginia (Laidlaw) Dillon and an online version of the slide show: Décor for Dance.
Remembering Nik, 19102010
See photos of From the Horses Mouth: Remembering Nik, held at the Henry Street Settlement Playhouse (Abrons Art Center) on April 30, 2010. Slide show photos by Lynn Lesniak and links to photos by Joe Zina.
Report from the Field: March 2010 Suzy McDermaid Fridell and The Magnum Force
Suzy McDermaid Fridell (Nikolais 6978) reports on her annual production number for the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. See The Magnum Force.
Bearnstows Winter Activities (20102011)
Bearnstow (the place) is put to sleep for the winter, but we continue to be active in the arts during the year. This past winter Bearnstow produced a weekend of concerts, the Nikolais Alumni Centennial Concerts, at Hunter College in New York City. It sponsored lectures by Ruth Grauert at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Maryland in College Park. And of course, Bearnstow produces the Bearnstow Journal, which carries articles on various aspects of performance art, reviews of concerts, and discussions on the Nikolais aesthetic.
Pictured right is the Lodge in winter, taken from the ice on Parker Pond. Photo by Dan Onion
Ruth Grauert Gives Lecture at Washington Univerity in St. Louis, October 29, 2010
Ruth discussed the path to post-modernism. See Washington University online announcement.
Susan Buirge Update (January 2010)
For those of you from the Henry Street Playhouse era, here is an update on Susan Buirge (HSP, NDT 6367). My contact with Susan has been sporadic. In 1999, for my 80th birthday, she sent me copies of two of her books, which I read with great interest. She also sent me an interview she conducted with Hanya Holm, which we published here online. I later had a note from Carolyn Carlson, who said (and I paraphrase) that Susan has a wonderful studio near Paris and is a very good teacher.
Susan stopped performing in 1990. She has lived in France since 1970 and on and off in Japan, of course incorporatiing these experiences in her work. To study the use of space in dance, she traveled in Ethiopia, Greece, Syria, Japan, Taiwan, and India. From 1992 to 1998 her work with a gagaku master and contemporary dancers in Kyoto led to the unique association of contemporary dance and ancient Japanese music. Four pieces dedicated to the cycle of the seasons were presented at the Avignon Festival and on major tours in France. She incorporated video into a live dance performance in 1968 while she was still in New York City (the performance, which I saw, was memorable because she incorporated the motion on the screen into the dance). She also explored unusual perfomance spaces, such as an airport and a ruined 18th century chateau.
Susan has choreographed some 95 works. Her company performed in Poland, Germany, England, Mexico, and Sweden, as well as in all the major theaters and festivals in France. But her company performed in New York City only once that I can recall and that was in the early eighties. From 1995 to 2007, Susan and her company were in residence at the Fondation Royaumont in Asnieres-sur-Oise, France, where she directed Le Centre de Recherche et de Composition Chorégraphiques (the Centre for Choreographic Research and Composition).
Today she lives in the Japanese village of Kamate on the Sea of Japan coast, where she directs Plateforme, a research project in the ancient dance rituals of Asia. Presently she is writing her memoires to be published in France in November 2011.
Ruth E. Grauert
Beverly Schmidt Blossom Receives Martha Hill Award, November 30, 2009
We arrived early at the banquet hall, which was spacious with a bar at the entrance and round tables set with hors doeuvres and binking-light center pieces. Beverly promptly checked the dias at the far end for the lighting on the lectern: no good!one amber-pink fresnel in the footlights aimed directly upward into the eyes of the speaker. I got busy to find the men of the establishment, and we did manage to mount an instrument so that it lit the speaker, not the ceiling. Master of Ceremonies Murray Louis arrived soon after and checked the lighting in turn. (Isnt that what performers do?). The verdict: not good but all that could be done.
People kept pouring in to honor the four recipients: Jacqueline Green, the Young Professional Award; Hortense Zera, a Special Citation; Virginia Johnson, the Mid-Career award, and Beverly Blossom, the Martha Hill Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance. All of these were presented between courses. The much-revered critric Jennifer Dunning presented the award to Beverly, and then Beverly performed her acceptance, which she enacted in familiar (and wonderful) Beverly fashion.
The hall was full of Nik/Lou folks, of course, and those dancers from Bevs post-Nik world (a couple all the way from Chicago; a tall fellow-performer, Douglas Nielsen; and many I cant identify). Mary Anthony, Linda Tarnay and, from the Nik/Lou crowd, Virginia Dillon, Mimi Garrard, Claudia Gitelman, Phyllis Lamhut, Lynn Needle, Chris Reisner, Henning Rübsam, Robert Small, Jeanette Stoner, Luise Wykell, Steve Vendola, and I know I have forgotten to mention YOU. Please let me know if I have, and I will include you in the final report. We all got home not too late after a wonderful celelbratory evening.
The Conference on the Nikolais Aesthetic
The Conference on the Nikolais Aesthetic was held at Bearnstow in Mount Vernon, Maine, August 915, 2009, in anticipation of the Alwin Nikiloais Centennial Celebration planned for 2010. The Conference brought together a wide range of Nikolais alumni to explore various aspects of his teaching and to share their experiences with Nik.
Left: Ruth Grauert and Tim Harling make a point at the Tuesday afternoon panel discussion. See more on the Conference.
Photo © Arthur Fink
Ruth Grauert and Bebe Miller Receive Honorary Degrees, May 16, 2009
Bearnstow now has two doctors in the houseDr. Ruth and Dr. Bebe! On May 16, Ruth Grauert and Bebe Miler were both awarded Doctors of Humane Letters from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
The connections here are all part of living history and all have as their source our own Ruth Grauert. Ruth graduated from Ursinus College in 1939seventy years ago. She has known Bebe since Bebe was three years old and is acknowledged to be her dance mentor. Chris Aiken, a professor of Dance at Ursinus, has been a member of Bebes Company and has taught at Bearnstow. His wife, Angie Hauser, also dances with Bebe (their one-year-old daughter, Ruby, doesnt yet).
Ruth arose at 6:00 a.m. to have a morning swim and then meet Bebe. And then they were off to rehearse the choreography and get their costumes for the event. The rain that had threatened held off and the ceremony took place in a huge tent on the lawn. It was really impressive and moving to me, as I hadnt even attended my own college graduation; the ritualistic aspect was so strong. Ruth and Bebe entered right before President Strassberger to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance and amid the flashing cameras of families and friends. God, I love ceremonies and this was a doozey! The commencement speaker, Phyliss Dennery, a neonatologist from the University of Pennsylvania Childrens Hospital, spoke of her roots in Haiti and overcoming difficulties, not an unusual topic for a graduation ceremony but inspiring if one doesnt hear it often.
The campus, a mixture of traditional old and modern buildings, is graced by a marvelous sculpture collection so that wherever the eye falls there is a beautiful piece that seems to have been there always. Ruth and I attended a dance concert there four years ago, and we loved the theater, which is very organic and welcoming and which Ruth deemed technically excellent.
After the ceremony, Bebe, Ruth, her sister June, her nieces Diane and Ruth, and I joined the honorees for a luncheon at the home of President Strassberger. The settings of President Strassbergers garden terrace next to the pool were lovely and gracious, and everyone on the campus was courteous, helpful, and kind. Academia shone that day.
Ive had the honor of being with Ruth at her 80th birthday at the Caravaglias, her Martha Hill Award at Hunter College, her 90th birthday at Lynn Needles, and now her honorary doctorate at Ursinus. Wowthey keep getting better.
Congratulations Ruth and Bebe, and thank you for shining your lights among us.
Life of Danial Shapiro Celebrated at the Joyce
Many gathered on the 5th of May, 2007, to honor the life of dancer-choreographer Danial Shapiro at the Joyce Theater in New York City. See Danial Shapiro, a Celebration of a Life
Mary Anthony Receives the Martha Hill Award of 2006
The Martha Hill Awards Gala of 2006, honoring Mary Anthony, was held at The Peking Park Restaurant on November 27. The speakers included Denise Jefferson, Hudas Liff, Donna Faye Burchfiield, Joan Finkelstein, and Doris Herring, all of whom spoke at length, as did Katie Dorn, who received the Young Professional Award, and Doug Elkins, who was honored with the Funds first Mid-Career Award. Mary Anthony spoke gently with humorous brevity. It really was a luminous affair. Phyllis Lamut, Claudia Gitelman, Steven Vendola, and Henning Rübsam joined me honoring Mary, who has been so much a part of our Nikolais heritage. Ruth Grauert
Murray Louis Receives Honorary Doctorate on 80th Birthday.
Shenandoah University honored Murray Louis with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts on November 4, 2006. The award ceremony followed the conservatory’s Fall Dance Ensemble Performance, which featured his Bach Suite (1956) and the Bird Solo from A Stravinsky Montage (1982). The reconstruction of Bach Suite was made possible by American Masterpieces: Dance, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts. See Claudia Gitelmans report of the award ceremony.
Danial Shipiro (MLDC 19781985) Dies at Age 48 (October 3, 2006)
Danny was a BIG man whose motion ideas escaped the confinement of a small floor by moving to tables and beds, chairs and barrels. I still see him flying through the air to some unlikely landing place. So Ill remember him as a MOVER who could not be constrained. He dared to leap for the moon and hang on a star, making them a part of HIS
Danial Shapiro, 48, Dancer Who Created Abstract Works, Dies by Jennifer Dunning, October 9, 2006, The New York Times
Murray Louis Receives the 2006 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival $35,000 Award
June 18 at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina — see details.
Nikolais/Louis Legacy Workshops Alumni Week, held July 24–28, 2006, Salt Lake City, Utah, an astonishing and extraordinary event, according to attendees. See the gallery of snapshots and photos.
Tribute to Murray Louis Concert. December 17–18, Hunter College Kaye Playhouse. See flyer (PDF document).
An Evening with Beverly BlossomFunny, Compassionate, and Wise: Bernie West Theatre (Baruch College). At 79, Beverly Blossom returned to New York in September 2005 in a one-woman show that she called The Incomplete Lament of an Old Dancer. See New York Times review.
In 1995, Kelly relocated to Las Vegas to build a dance program for the Community College of Southern Nevada. In addition to his duties as head of the CCSN Dance Program, he choreographs for such organizations as the Las Vegas Civic Ballet and the Desert Dance Theatre. Roth and choreographer Kyla Quintero founded the Dance in the Desert Festival, which began as an opportunity for local choreographers to present their works and is now an annual event that has grown to include artists from throughout the West.
Kelly Roth & Dancers/Concert Dance Company, has appeared in the Avignon Festival in France, to the International Choreographic Festival in Mexico City, Prague Festival 2000 in the Czech Republic and in frequent engagements in California, Arizona, and Utah. In June 2003, Kelly Roth and company received first prizes for choreography and Best Contemporary Dance Presentation at the Dance Grand Prix Italia in Cesena, Italy. Cited for high artistic achievement, Mr. Roth is the recipient of a prestigious Nevada Artists Fellowship for 2005.
Mimi Garrard reflects on her Nikolais heritage: Tapping into the Eternal: My Journey with Alwin Nikolais
Two Film Festivals this summer will screen Mimi Garrard’s videodances: In June, Omagbitse Suite will be presented at TREEPEOPLE as part of the 2005 Dance On Camera West Festival in Los Angeles and at the Fear No Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. See MimiGarrardDance.com.
Helen Kent-Nicoll Update (December 2004)
Crocodiles of Cuba, an Earthwatch Expedition trip to Cuba (April, 2004)
On June 8, 2004, Phyllis Lamhut hosted at her home a book signing, honoring Claudia Gitelman and her Liebe Hanya, which is now available in the major book stores. (See Review by Ruth Grauert.)
Annelise Mertz (Professor Emerita of Washington University in St. Louis) Wins the 2004 Missouri Arts Award, the States Highest.
Wanda Pruska-Wallace (Henry Street Playhouse and NDT 19601983, MLDC 19711975) and her husband, David Wallace, now operate a resort called Natures Paradise on St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Phyllis Lamhut recommends it highly as a great place, most beautiful. Wanda offers a 20% discount to the Nikolais-Louis Family (mention Bearnstow Journal when you inquire). And Natures Paradise has a dance studio available! See www.facebook.com/naturesparadise/ (And pictures of Wanda! Wanda and David Wallace) .
Greetings from Suzy McDermaid Freidel (and Squire and Puck) from Glenlyon Vineyards & Winery. (See also www.glenlyonwinery.com.)
The Nikolais Legacy Forum, held at Hunter College, Oct. 1012, was a tremendous success. More on the Legacy Forum.
Knocked Knees, New York, and Nik a memoir by Susan P. Lloyd (October 2003)
Reflections on a Reunion. On March 22, 2003, Nikolais-Louis alumni gathered at the home of Mimi Garrard and Jimmy Seawright to commemorate the life to Frankie Garcia, who died in December, and the tenth anniversary of Alwin Nikolais death. See photos from that event by Norman Ader & Peter Koletzke and by Jimmy Seawright.
It Rained in the Sahara, a trip to Morocco (February 2003)
Pantanal Team VI, a trip to Brazils Pantanal (April, 2002)