Photo by Pierre Petitjean, Courtesy DM Archives

#tbt: Alwin Nikolais on Inventing Your Own Solutions

In the April 1968 issue of Dance Magazine, we took a deep dive into the work of Alwin Nikolais.

Imago (1963). Photo by Sosenko, Courtesy DM Archives


Viewing technique as a means to an end, Nikolais did not ask his dancers to embody characters or emote, but to simply dance as part of the onstage environments created by his innovative costume, lighting and production designs—most of which he handled personally, in addition to creating his own music and, of course, choreographing the steps.

Gallery (1978). Photo by Tom Caravaglia, Courtesy DM Archives

"I always seem to be looking for something that hasn't been invented yet," he told us. He would frequently improvise solutions to gain the effect he wanted without waiting for technology to catch up to his ideas.

Imago (1963). Photo by Sosenko, Courtesy DM Archives

Nikolais received a Dance Magazine Award in 1968 and in 1987 was the recipient of both the National Medal of Arts and a Kennedy Center Honor.

Sanctum (1964). Photo by Ken Ray, Courtesy DM Archives

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J. Alice Jackson, Courtesy CHRP

Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Rhythm World Finally Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

What happens when a dance festival is set to celebrate a landmark anniversary, but a global pandemic has other plans?

Chicago's Rhythm World, the oldest tap festival in the country, should have enjoyed its 30th iteration last summer. Disrupted by COVID-19, it was quickly reimagined for virtual spaces with a blend of recorded and livestreamed classes. So as not to let the pandemic rob the festival of its well-deserved fanfare, it was cleverly marketed as Rhythm World 29.5.

Fortunately, the festival returns in full force this year, officially marking three decades of rhythm-making with three weeks of events, July 26 to August 15. As usual, the festival will be filled with a variety of master classes, intensive courses and performances, as well as a teacher certification program and the Youth Tap Ensemble Conference. At the helm is Chicago native Jumaane Taylor, the newly appointed festival director, who has curated both the education and performance programs. Taylor, an accomplished choreographer, came to the festival first as a young student and later as part of its faculty.

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July 2021