“New York is such a circus,” Phyllis Lamhut advised us within the February 1975 concern of Dance Journal. “It’s acquired unhealthy air, however nice vitality.”
The native New Yorker will surely know. Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Lamhut had early aspirations for a ballet profession that took a flip for the trendy when Alwin Nikolais arrived on the Henry St. Settlement Playhouse in 1948, the place she had been coaching on scholarship. She made her skilled debut that very same 12 months, and within the many years that adopted turned not solely a number one dancer with each Nikolais’ and Murray Louis’ troupes but in addition a trainer and choreographer in her personal proper.
“I take into account myself to have been completely skilled by Nik and influenced by Nik and Murray,” she stated. “But I don’t suppose I imitate both. Whereas all of us share a typical motion vocabulary, we've fairly separate choreographic visions. Nik by no means negated any of his college students as people. He nurtured the particular qualities every of us needed to supply.”
“Not a day goes by that I don’t have a superb snort.” Phyllis Lamhut, within the February 1975 concern of Dance Journal
She gave her first live performance of impartial choreography in 1957 and based her personal firm in 1970. Her broad vary of items, by which she would usually carry out, earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fame for having a specific knack for comedy. “I’m tired of my two ft and my standard physique,” she famous in 1975. “It’s a burden at all times to have the identical physique. I believe that feeling of burden is said to a choreographer’s fixed worry of repeating himself. Nobody needs to repeat himself time and again. That’s why I’m a witch. I like magic, levitation, phantasm—above all, phantasm. I’d wish to evaporate throughout a dance. I’d love to do huge, wild, wacky, loopy numbers. However I additionally really feel like doing tiny dances to Mozart.”
After her firm dissolved in 1996, she joined the college of New York College’s Tisch Faculty of the Arts, the place she taught composition and improvisation till her retirement in 2020.