Nikolais, Alwin (nĭkˌəlīˈ), 1910–93, American dancer and choreographer, b. Southington, Conn. Nikolais became director of his own dance company in New York City in 1949. He made ingenious use of color, lighting, sound, and innovative costumes as integral parts of such abstract and exhilarating dance works as Tensile Involvement (1955, one of the earliest and best known of his multimedia works), Kaleidoscope (1956), Imago (1963), Tent (1968), Scenario (1971), Gallery (1978), Velocities (1986), and Aurora (1992). Many of his works were presented on television in the United States and Great Britain. In 1989 his dance company merged with that of Murray Louis, his life partner.
See Nik and Murray (documentary, 1986).
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Nikolais, Alwin(1912–93) choreographer; born in Southington, Conn. After training with Hanya Holm, he worked as a choreographer in Connecticut before moving to New York in 1948. At the Henry Street Playhouse he developed innovative theatrical concepts in children's theater and in his own company, the Nikolais Dance Theater. His avant-garde works are especially noted for their exotic costumes and arbitrary movements.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.