Partner Alwin Nikolais

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Murray Louis Fuchs (November 4, 1926 – February 1, 2016) was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Louis was known as one of the most influential American modern dancers and choreographers.

Murray Louis Fuchs was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Manhattan near Henry Street where he would later attend class at the Henry Street Playhouse and also start his company. He was one out of five children and his mother died when he was eight years old. He was then sent to an orphanage until he was twelve. At this time his sister Ethel, who was studying dance at the time, took him to many modern dance concerts.[1] He graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School in 1944. Louis was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1946 and began to live in San Francisco, California.[2] He then enrolled at Colorado College for a summer session conducted by Hanya Holm in 1949. It was there during one of their workshops where he met Alwin Nikolais, who would later become his mentor and lifelong partner. That year he moved back to New York to pursue a Dramatic Arts degree at New York University and attend class with Nikolais at Henry Street Playhouse. Louis made his debut as the lead soloist in Nikolais’ newly formed Playhouse Dance Company (which would later be renamed the Nikolais Dance Theater).[3]

Louis was chosen as Associate Director to Nikolais and together they created the Nikolais/Louis dance technique, which would go on to become a major influence on modern dance and is still taught by his students. Louis founded his own company in 1968 known as the Murray Louis Dance Company. His company was then chosen to represent the U.S. State Department on a two-month tour of India in 1968. In 1972 he piloted the “Artist in School” program. He also created two works for Rudolph Nureyev which premiered on Broadway in 1978.[5] Louis additionally worked in television in the United States and Europe. For example, in the 1960s his artistry as both a dancer and choreographer were showcased on live network television for the CBS Repertoire Worhshop.[6] In 1984 the Murray Louis Dance Company collaborated with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and had four very successful seasons, which were broadcast in the United States, Europe and Japan. Some of his choreographed works produced for television station outside of the United States include; Pulcinello for the Batsheva Dance Company on Israeli television and The Tales of Cri-Cri for Mexico City television. In July 1987 PBS televised Nik and Murray, an award-winning documentary film by Christian Blackwood, in their American Masters series. The Princeton Book Publishing Company released a video called Murray Louis in Concert, a collection of solos in 1989.[7] Louis also had 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.[8] A Cappella Books published his second book of essays, On Dance. Louis’s and Nikolais’ dance companies merged in 1989.[9] On May 8, 1993 Louis’s most influential mentor and partner, Alwin Nikolais, died. Louis did not dance for 2 years after Nikolais’ death. In 1995 his 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.

He died in New York City on February 1, 2016 at the age of 89.[4]

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