Luise in Maui, Hawaii, December 2013
In Memoriam: Luise Wykell

November 22, 1942–December 27, 2014

Luise H. Wykell, dancer, teacher, choreographer and devoted supporter of the performing arts, passed away on December 27, 2014 after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Tributes and remembrances can be found on the Nikolais/Louis Alumni Facebook page.

After graduating from University of Wisconsin–Madison, Luise came to New York City and studied with Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis. She taught classes, choreographed and performed her numerous works at her Soho loft, as well as at the Riverside Dance Festival, Pace University, Schimmel Center, Emanu-El Midtown YM-YWHA, NYU, and the Marymount Manhattan Theatre.

Included among her many works was Gertrude Gertrude, a duet choreographed and performed with Beverly Blossom and inspired by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. The Chess Piece—a full-evening work with dancers representing two sets of chess pieces, moving strategically for the capture of opponent pieces—is considered her master work and was performed in various New York City venues.

Gertrude Gertrude (1982) with Beverly Blossom

She appeared as a guest with the Murray Louis Dance Company in Louis’s Canarsie Venus. The piece featured Rudolf Nureyev and was performed in New York, London, and Paris.

Luise was well known for her exceptional cooking and baking; she baked muffins and brownies for the original Dean and De­Luca’s, which launched her decades-long successful business: “Luise’s Famous Fudge.” Luise was also a primary fundraiser for the New York City Ballet.

Luise enjoyed traveling. She loved her friends and valued stay­ing in touch with people. She will be dearly missed.

Luise is survived by her bother and sister-in-law, Sheldon and Ann Wykell, and her nephews. Please see the Nikolais/Louis Alumni Facebook page for the tributes and remembrances of her many friends.

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