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Research Guides

Chamber Dance Company Archive: Alwin Nikolais

A unique collection of video documenting the UW Chamber Dance Dance Company's over 25 year history of performing modern dance classics.

Alwin Nikolais

American choreographer, composer, stage/costume/lighting designer, teacher, and theatrical innovator

I found out that art is motion, not emotion.

                           Alwin Nikolais

Born Southington, Connecticut, November 25, 1910. Died May 8, 1993.

Alwin Nikolais was an American choreographer, composer, stage and lighting designer, teacher, and theatrical innovator. With such diverse talents, Nikolais was able to take complete responsibility for all production aspects of his work. Employing innovations far ahead of his time, his choreography is characterized by an interaction of light, sound, color, time, shape, props and moving bodies in space. The undisputed master of "total theater," Nikolais amazed audiences for more than fifty-five years with multimedia spectacles. A celebrated artist, Nikolais's awards include honorary doctorates from the University of Utah and University of Illinois, the National Medal of Arts, and the Grande Medaille-de-Vermeille de la Ville de Paris, among many others. Tensile Involvement, affectionately referred to as "Web," is one of Nikolais’s most acclaimed works and a favorite of Chamber Dance Company audiences.

Watch performances of Alwin Nikolais' works, including Tensile Involvement, Imago Suide: The City Curious, and Pond, at the Media Arcade in Vol. 32 of the Chamber Dance Company Archive (DVD UWDP 001 v.32).