Principles of Nikolais Theory and Composition

Taught by Dorothy Vislocky

July 28August 3, 2013

Photos by Chip Tildon

This workshop is geared toward the focused professional and students headed for a career in professional dance. The daily schedule will follow this general formula (always subject to revision): morning warm-up session and theory class, afternoon composition and rehearsal, evening dinner and discussion. Classes may be held in the Main Hall, the Lab, the Clearing, or the Court, and dancers may use any place on the inspiring landscape for creative work.

Wednesday is special. There will be no afternoon class so the time is open for recreation (trail riding, hiking, boating, berry picking, sun bathing). In the evening a special class is held at the Mount Vernon Community Center, open to anyone from the community who cares to join us.

A Friday evening concert and a Saturday morning open showing complete the schedule.

To the Alumni: Dancers who have performed with companies associated with Nikolais at the Henry Street Playhouse, The Space, or the 18th Street or West Broadway studios, please inquire for special consideration. All others please refer to Fees and Applications.

Dorothy M. Vislocky was an original member of the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater from 1952 to 1962. She directed the Dorothy Vislocky Dance Theater from 1963 to 1984 and also formed the Hunter College Dance Company in 1963. At Hunter she conceived and developed the curriculum for the dance major program, emphasizing creative aspects of choreographing and performing. She directed the program from 1972 to 1986 and taught courses in creative process, anatomy, and kinesiology.

Dorothy Vislocky was partner to Nikolaisís innovations that changed concert dance. She participated in the making of his Theater Dance for ten years, during the time of his intense explorations of space, time, shape and motion, as he incorporated sound, light, and a wide array of materials to create the magic of his theater.


Below: “Paraphernalia,” a solo choreographed and danced by Dorothy for Masks, Props and Mobiles II, 1955. This was the second evening of dance with objects, to which company members contributed their works. Here Nikolais also introduced his Tensile Involvement, which is still in repertories world wide today.


Above left: Nimbus Stratus (1957), choreographed by Alwin Nikolais. Here Nikolais worked with changing spatial environments: with hanging panels that flew in and out to alter the air space (nimbus) and a cloth that rolled in and out to alter the floor space (stratus). Dancers visible are Murray Louis and Dorothy Vislocky.

Photos courtesy of the Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance Collection, Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries



The Dorothy Vislocky Workshop



Top row: Heriberto Mendoza, Nicole Garlando, and Adam Kerbel; middle row:
Karina Culloton, Cristina Woehlert, Suzie Creitz, Andrea Kaufman, and Billy Kaufman;
standing: Dorothy Vislocky, Ruth Grauert, and Gerald Otte; in front: Georgia