Murray Louis, American modern dancer and choreographer, Died at 89


Murray Louis was born on November 4, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York and died on February 1, 2016, in New York City.

He was an American modern dancer and choreographer.

Murray was known as one of the most influential American modern dancers and choreographers.

He grew up in Manhattan as one out of five children and his mother died when he was eight years old.

Before he was 12, he was then sent to an orphanage.

By that time his sister Ethel, who was studying dance at the time, took him to many modern dance concerts.

Following that he graduated from Samuel Tildon High School in 1944.

Murray was released from the Navy in 1946 and began to live in San Francisco, California.

Louis register at Colorado College for a summer session conducted by Hanya Holm in 1949.

Whilst he attended his workshop, he met Alwin Nikolais, who would later become his mentor and lifelong partner.

Following that, he relocated to New York to pursue a Dramatic Arts degree at New York University and attend class with Nikolais at Henry Street Playhouse.

Murray Louis made his debut as the lead soloist in Nikolais’ newly formed Playhouse Dance Company (which would late be renamed the Nikolais Dance Theater).

Murray Louis was chosen as Associate Director to Nikolais and together they created the Nikolais/Louis dance technique, which would become a major influence on modern dance and is still taught by his students.

Murray Louis founded his own company in 1968 known as the Murray Louis Dance Company.

However, The company was then chosen to represent the U.S. State Department on a two-month tour of India in 1968.

Murray piloted the “Artist in School” program, in 1972.

And he also created two works for Rudolph Nureyev to debut on Broadway in 1978.

His did television work in the United States and Europe.

The Murray Louis Dance Company collaborated with the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1984 and had four very strong seasons, which were broadcast in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

The choreographed performance includes Pulcinella for Batsheva Dance Company for Israeli television and The Tales of Cri-Cri for Mexico City television.

In July 1987, The channel, PBS televised Nik and Murray, an award-winning documentary film by Christian Blackwood, in their American Masters series.

Following that, The Princeton Book Publishing Company released a video called Murray Louis in Concert, a collection of solos in 1989.

And his collection of essays, Inside Dance, published by St. Martin’s Press and released a five-part film series, Dance as an Art Form, which is now used as an introduction series for Educational Arts programs in the United States.

Then, a Cappella Books published his second book of essays, On Dance.

In 1989, The Louis’s and Nikolais’ dance companies merged.

Louis’s most influential mentor and partner, Alwin Nikolais, passed away on May 8, 1993

Louis did not dance for 2 years after Nikolais’ death.

Then in 1995, the company performed at Carnegie Hall for 10,000 children during their “LINK” program and in 1996 he completed a five-part video series titled, The World of Alwin Nikolais.

Murray Louis passed away at 89 yrs old.