Magazine article Dance Magazine

Remembering Nik

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Remembering Nik

Article excerpt

The year was 1948, and Alwin Nikolais, fresh from Army service, was the newly appointed director of the Henry. Street Playhouse in New York City, charged with developing community work through the institution. The GI Bill made it possible for veterans to study.

Gladys Bailin was a dance student who grew up in the neighborhood. "When Nikolais came, ten guys came with him," Bailin said. "I can't tell you what a joy it was." She invited her friend from ballet class, Phyllis Lamhut, to attend class with Nikolais.

"Nik was in a red, open-necked shirt and sailor pants," said Lamhut. "I'd never seen a man dressed that way."

A few years later, Beverly Blossom went to New York in search of the art portrayed by Martha Graham. She found Graham classes "not accessible," and instead she studied Hanya Holm technique at the New Dance Group; later she met Nikolais at Holm's June course. Bailin, Lamhut, and Blossom, along with Murray Louis and Dorothy Vislocky, shared their recollections of the early Henry Street Playhouse days during a Hunter College symposium held in October 2003. …

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