Alwin Nikolais (1910-1993) & Murray Louis

Posted in 80 Faces, 2013.

The dance careers of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis are inextricably linked. Mr. Louis first met Mr. Nikolais in the 1940s and joined his dance company as a soloist shortly thereafter. From those early beginnings began a lifelong partnership that would impact the modern dance world.

Nikolais and Louis worked both separately and in collaboration with one another. They each directed their own dance companies and collaborated to create the Nikolais-Louis Foundation for Dance based in Manhattan. Today, the foundation continues the Nikolais-Louis legacy by staging work in repertory, and leading dance workshops and intensives around the world.

Nikolais enjoyed a decades-long connection with ADF. He attended ADF as a student in 1937 and returned with his Henry Street Playhouse Dance Company in 1956. His company appeared another nine times on the ADF stage, and Nikolais received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award in 1985.

Louis also appeared at ADF, as a dancer in Nikolais’ company, with his own Murray Louis Dance Company, and as a recipient of the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award in 2006.

In today’s 80 Faces, Louis and the Co-Director of the Nikolais-Louis Foundation for Dance, Alberto del Saz, reminisce about the impact Nikolais had on their careers, and their years at ADF.