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Research Guides

Chamber Dance Company Archive: Doug Elkins

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

Doug Elkins

Doug Elkins


American dancer, choreographer and company director

Elkins's facility with movement, his pure imagination, make one eager to see what he does in the future. When will he begin to dig more deeply than he is currently doing?

                                                Doris Hering, Dance Magazine 1997

The roots of Doug Elkins’s choreography are diverse, to say the least, and can range from 1980s breakdancing, to a Jackie Chan movie, to the Brazilian martial art style capoeira. Premiered in December 1996 at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City, Center My Heart is a classic Elkins mix of hip-hop, martial arts, and contemporary dance techniques performed to the Qawaali music of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997). Center My Heart won Elkins the New York Dance and Performance Award known as a "Bessie” in 1997. He was recognized “ ...for walking the walk as well as talking the talk, not to mention utterly tanking what’s left of post-modernist pretension, all the while fashioning a singular provocative poetics of dancing.” He is the recipient of significant choreographic commissions and awards from the NEA, National Performance Network, Jerome Foundation, Dance Magazine Foundation, Metropolitan Life/American Dance Festival, Hartford Foundation, Arts International, NYSCA, and The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. In 1994, he received the Brandeis University Award in Dance, Creative Arts Awards Commission and, in 2001, the Cho-San Goh and Richard H. McGee Foundation Award for Choreography.

Watch escerpts of Doug Elkins' Center My Heart at the Media Arcade in Vol. 27 of the Chamber Dance Company Archive (DVD UWDP 001 v.27).