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Murray Louis


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the following has been passed along in an email:

From the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance.

Dear Nikolais/Louis family and dance lovers;

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart I share the news of the passing of our beloved Murray Louis.

On February 1st at 4:30am the world lost one of America's dance icons. His spirit, wisdom and artistry will forever live in our hearts.

He died peacefully at his home in New York City. He was 89 years old.

The Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance will hold a Celebration of his life at a later time.

Thoughts and condolences can be left at murray@nikolaislouis.org.

Much love to All.

Alberto del Saz

Artistic Director.

Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance.

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I second ABT Fan's thoughts.I also studied with him and others at his school. He was a great dancer and teacher and he and Nikolais made an important contribution to the Lower East Side. Indeed, another one of the modern dance greats.

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I had hoped he would be in good enough health to attend Ririe-Woodbury's Alwin Nikolais program playing at the Joyce from February 9-14. But, alas, it was not to be.

It's unfortunate that his repertory predeceased him. A bitter ending for someone who was once a very big draw in New York dance.

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From the Dance Notation Bureau comments:

Today the Dance Notation Bureau is very sad to report the death of Murray Louis, an outstanding member of our dance world; a choreographer, dancer, author and founder of the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance. He died peacefully at his home in New York, February 1, 2016 at the age of 89. For many years he lead his own dance company and later combined this company with that of his partner and mentor, Alwin Nikolais. Murray was a strong supporter and Honorary Board Member of the DNB. We are fortunate to have six Labanotation scores in our Library: Bach Suite (1956),Canarsie Venus, (1978), Proximities, (1968), Schubert, (1977), Stravinsky Montage, (1982) and Vivace, (1978). Murray will be missed not only for his contributions to the dance world but his dedication to this art form with a strong will to preserve but foremost to entertain. He wanted us to enjoy what he loved.

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f.y.i. (from a press release)

CHOREOGRAPHER/DANCER MURRAY LOUIS DIES ON FEBRUARY 1, 2016 AT AGE 89

American choreographer/dancer Murray Louis died on February 1 at his home in New York City. He was 89 years old.

Louis, who was also a world renowned teacher and pedagogue, was born in Brooklyn in 1926 and grew up in Manhattan, not far from Henry Street where his company would be founded years later.

After being discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946, Louis went to San Francisco, and then enrolled in Colorado College’s summer dance session, where he met choreographer Alwin Nikolais who became the single most important influence in his career. He moved to New York to dance with the Nikolais Dance Theater in 1949.

While Louis danced with the Nikolais Dance Theatre throughout his career, he also performed with his own troupe, the Murray Louis Dance Company, which he founded in 1953. In 1968, the Louis Company was chosen to represent the U.S. State Department on a two-month tour of India; it subsequently toured throughout the United States and the world. Louis created two works for Rudolf Nureyev’s 1978 Broadway season, as well as choreographing a series of dances for himself and Nureyev when he guested with the Louis Company.

“Brubeck Pieces,” a collaboration between Louis and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which premiered at City Center in New York in 1984, went on to tour for four years around the world. Louis’s work was recognized with many awards and honors both in the United States and abroad including the Grand Medaille de vermeil de la Ville de Paris in 1979; in 1983 Louis was honored with a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Government. He was also the recipient of the 1977 Dance Magazine Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Lucia Chase Fellowship, among others. Louis received honorary doctorates from Boston Conservatory, Rutgers University, Ohio University and Indiana University.

Louis’s work in television and film included a five part film series, “Dance as an Art Form” and a five part video series, “The World of Alwin Nikolais.” Louis and Alwin Nikolais were the subjects of Christian Blackwood’s award-winning film, “Nik and Murray,” which aired as part of the American Masters series on PBS television.

Louis was the author of two books of essays about dance, “Inside Dance,” published by St. Martin’s Press and “On Dance,” published by A Cappella Books..


A memorial to celebrate Murray Louis’s life is being planned for next year.

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