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Jean Erdman Dance is pleased to present
Dance & Myth: The World of Jean Erdman

This three-part archival series produced by Foundation for The Open Eye, established by Erdman and her husband, the mythologist Joseph Campbell in 1972, contains 11 complete dances, choreographed and staged by Erdman. Footage of Erdman at work, archival photos and films of her and her illustrious collaborators, including dancers Merce Cunningham and Donald McKayle, composers John Cage, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison and Louis Horst, and visual artist Carlus Dyer, along with Erdman’s own voice-over narration interspersed between the dance recreations, all serve to elucidate her creative process and unique artistic vision.

To stream, click on the link below:

Part 1: The Early Dances (1942-1948)

Part 2: The Group Dances (1949-50)

Part Three: The Later Solos (1954 – 1956)

Highlights of Past Events


The National Arts Club

Site Specific Dance Film
March 29, 2021

Nancy Allison discusses her approach to the interdisciplinary genre of dance film, with an eye toward “how we perceive the world around us...and how these perceptions interact with our creative expression,” citing examples from her films “Hamadryad”, “Marmo,” “Water on Stone “and “BODY PLACE IMAGE”

Click here:

Sensation and Location


The Joseph Campbell Foundation

Remembering Jean Erdman:
A Conversation with Nancy Allison

To join this on-going interactive written dialogue CLICK HERE
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to advance to the succeeding pages of the conversation.

Christine Daikin
streaming as part of the
2020 American Dance Guild Performance Festival
"10 Years Over 10 Weeks"
November 23 - 29
To see the free on-line performance go to:


Jean Erdman in The Transformations of Medusa
(Photo by Barbara Morgan)

Streaming as part of 39th Battery Dance Festival
Tues. August 18 7:00PM-8:00PM (NYC time)
To see the free on-line performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the U.S. Click here


To read a review, click here: 

Jean Erdman passes at 104 on May 4, 2020 Erdman Obit NYTimes

Read The New York Times obituary here:

Read the Dance Magazine tribute here:

Thanks to all who offered condolences and memories at this time. They were deeply appreciated.


JEAN ERDMAN celebrated throughout India in THE ASIAN AGE September 24, 2019 THE ASIAN AGE

Merce Cunningham and Jean Erdman in Credo in Us (Photo by Barbara Morgan)

Jean Erdman is a magical, pioneering legend whose name I would guess doesn’t ring a bell for many of you. Yet she touched, influenced and transformed 20th century consciousness of myth and culture in modern dance and theatre in lasting ways.

To see the full article click here.



May 12 Underexposed Film Festival Rock Hill, SC

Sept. 1 VOB Festival Carmel, NY


The Joseph Campbell Foundation and New World Library
announce the publication of

The Ecstasy of Being: Mythology and Dance
Joseph Campbell's collected writings on dance and art,
edited and introduced by Nancy Allison

In this new collection Campbell explores the rise of modern art and dance in the twentieth century; delves into the work and philosophy of Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and others; and, as always, probes the idea of art as "the funnel through which spirit is poured into life." This book offers the reader an accessible, yet profound and provocative, insight into Campbell's lifelong fascination with the relationship of myth to aesthetic form and human psychology.

“No one in our century — not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not LĂ©vi-Strauss — has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness.”

— James Hillman

“Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture.”

— Newsweek

A must-have for every dance and arts library. To order: click here

Hamadryad screening November 5 at Noon YoFi Fest Film Festival Yonkers, NY

For tickets and information:


Celebrations of Jean Erdman's 100th Birthday

Myth and Modern Dance (October 14 - 16)
92nd St. YM/YWHA
1395 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY


Jean Erdman in The Transformations of Medusa
(Photo by Barbara Morgan)

The 92Y Harness Dance Center, American Dance Guild
and Jean Erdman Dance present
4 Events honoring Jean Erdman in her 100th year
Featuring performances with live music of Erdman's
The Transformations of Medusa (1942)
Passage (1946)
staged by Nancy Allison
performed by special guest artists
Christine Dakin
and Miki Orihara
Hamadryad a stage-to-screen adaptation of Erdman's solo
directed by Nancy Allison and Paul Allman,
a panel discussion with Erdman collaborators,
as well as, new dances
inspired by myth by a wide range of choreographers,
from emerging voices to American masters

Dance Enthusiast Asks Nancy Allison About "Jean Erdman at 100" The American Dance Guild at the 92Y
Please click here for the full article at The Dance Enthusiast

Celebrating Our Heritage (September 23 - 25)

The Open Eye Theater
960 Main Street
Margaretville, NY

Nancy Allison rehearsing walk, breathe, dance
(Photo by Roger Rosen)

The Open Eye Theater presents
A Performance Festival honoring Jean Erdman
walk, breathe, dance

In this new performance project choreographer/dancer Nancy Allison
mines the legacy of her more than 30-year association with
Jean Erdman. Allison explores the connections between modernism
and post-modernism inside a film environment by Paul Allman,
incorporating archival imagery of Erdman dancing, text from her
unpublished manuscript, The Dance as it Derives from the Simple Elements of Walking, and music by long-time Erdman collaborator, Lou Harrison.

Jean Erdman: A Career Retrospective (September 8 - October 8)
Hawaii State Library
478 King St.
Honolulu, HI


Miki Orihara in Hamadryad
(Photo by Glen Mordeci)

This exhibit documents Erdman's career as a choreographer and dancer.
Masks by designer Ralph Lee and costumes from her production of
The Shining House: An opera of pagan Hawai'i, are featured.
Hamadryad, a re-envisioning of Erdman's 1948 solo by directors
Nancy Allison and Paul Allman, featuring Bessie Award winning
dancer, Miki Orihara will be screened.

Hamadryad Screening October 24

Dance on Camera
Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, NY

Canadian premiere of Hamadryad at 34th International Festival of Films on Art (Montréal, CANADA)
South American premiere of Hamadryad at 10th SĂŁo Carlos Videodance Festival (SĂŁo Carlos, BRAZIL)
Australian premiere of Hamadryad at ColorTape International Film Festival (Brisbane, AUSTRALIA)

Hamadryad awarded:

Excerpts from Dance & Myth: The World of Jean Erdman included in Dance is a Weapon, touring exhibit organized by the
Centre National de la Danse,
(Paris, FRANCE)

World premiere of Hamadryad at Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association's 43rd Dance on Camera Festival
(New York, NY)
European premiere of Hamadryad at Mykonos Biennale (Mykonos, GREECE)

Hamadryad awarded:

The Dryad Project Phase Two
Editing of film adaptation of Erdman’s 1948 solo, Hamadryad by JED artistic director, Nancy Allison and filmmaker, Paul Allman. The film follows Bessie Award winning dancer, Miki Orihara from the streets of Manhattan to the studio where she rehearses the dance, enchanting herself into the forest that inspired it.

Click here to see behind-the-scenes footage:

Click on title in video to view full credits. 

Release of Chamber Dance Ensemble DVD Library and Archive Volume 8 Jean Erdman: Creature on a Journey

Created during the NEA sponsored residency at University of Washington in 2012 this DVD includes:

A must have for any dance library! To order your copy click here:

To see excerpts from the DVD click here:

Click on title in video to view full credits. 

70th anniversary of the premiere of Creature on a Journey

Staging of Hamadryad as part of Look Back/Move Forward, 50th anniversary concert celebrating the I.M. Pei designed Kennedy Theater at University of Hawaii/Manoa
This five-month project began with a weeklong residency in NYC in June for Alison Burkhardt and Malia Wild, funded by UH’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), where they had master classes/rehearsals with JED artistic director, Nancy Allison. The project continued through autumn via Skype rehearsals culminating with a JED residency in Honolulu during tech/performance week. Burkhardt and Wild shared their experience through a lecture demonstration and were awarded the prize for Best Presentation at the culminating event for UROP

Click here to see a photomontage of the project:

Click on title in video to view full credits.  

“ These early works show a respect for form and spatial exploration… very modern”

Carol Egan
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

“ Thanks, Nancy. It was great to have you via Skype yesterday. Your direction was terrific. We all learned so much. What a joy!”

Elizabeth Fischer
Look Back/Move Forward

The Dryad Project Phase One
Planning and filming of adaptation of Hamadryad by JED artistic director, Nancy Allison and filmmaker, Paul Allman, featuring Bessie Award winning dancer, Miki Orihara.


70th anniversary of the premiere of The Transformations of Medusa

Residency at University of Washington supported by a grant from NEA American Masterpieces: Dance Program featuring student performances of Creature on a Journey and a workshop for special needs students of the Integrated Summer Dance Intensive

Click here to see excerpts from the residency:

Click on title in video to view full credits. 

“Creature was a major hit!”

Hannah C. Wiley
Professor/Artistic Director
Chamber Dance Company

Jean Erdman & Hula: Cultural Dance Traditions as Creative Wellspring
presented at National Dance Education Organization national conference in Los Angeles, CA

“It was breathtaking to see how much was learned in such a short time.”

Katherine Teck
Making Music for Modern Dance
Oxford University Press

Deconstructing Erdman: A Choreographic Workshop
presented in New York City studios


Labanotation score of Passage by Mary Corey completed and housed in Dance Notation Bureau Library

Excerpts from Dance & Myth: The World of Jean Erdman featured in the film, Lou Harrison: A World of Music


Residency at University of Idaho supported by a grant from the NEA American Masterpieces: Dance Program featuring student performances of Suite of Three: 3 Solos by Jean Erdman

Click here to see excerpts from the rehearsal process

Click on title in video to view full credits. 

“ Nancy — Thank you for bringing Jean Erdman's and your gift of dance to our university. I never know how older modern dance will go over with our audience, but the solos were a hit. People also loved the video introductions. Our Dean went Saturday night and was very impressed as were some donors."

Greg Halloran
Associate Professor of Dance
University of Idaho

Staging of Creature on a Journey on Christine Jowers/Moving Arts Projects for performances at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland

Jean Erdman Dance: Chronology and Mythology presented by the 92nd St Y in New York City as part of its 75th anniversary season. Conceived and directed by JED artistic director, Nancy Allison, the work was a journey into Erdman’s world of dance and myth as her celebrated dances emerged from and dissolved into a visual environment created by video artist Paul Allman. It featured Elizabeth Auclair and Miki Orihara, principal dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company and Christine Jowers in five classic Erdman solos as well as the premiere of Daughters: An Etude for the Harkness Repertory Ensemble.

Click here to see an excerpt from a performance

Click on title in video to view full credits.  


“I loved it! It was like dance anthropology. I’ve never seen anything like it!”

Irena Popiashvili
Co-founding Curator
Newman Popiashvili Gallery, NYC

“…the students were poignant and powerful… and there was wonderful dancing from the pros” 

Laura Jacobs
Dance Critic
The New Criterion

“The stagings and performances were fastidious, the organization illuminated the work, and the costumes--all of them--were ravishing.”

Mindy Aloff
Dance Critics Association News

Staging of Passage on members of Dance Inc., Pasqualina Nöel, Artistic Director, a professional company based in Paris for performances throughout France for the 2010 - 11 season.


Residency at Ohio University featuring student performances of Suite of Three: 3 Solos by Jean Erdman

Click here to see an excerpt from a performance

Click on title in video to view full credits. 

“On Friday I had several people comment on the way out how much they enjoyed the piece and how much they appreciated the video to context the work. On Saturday the audience was even larger, perhaps 1,500 – 1,700. They were exuberantly appreciative.”

Madeleine Scott
Ohio University School of Dance 

Residency at University of Oklahoma
supported by a grant from the NEA American Masterpieces: Dance Program featuring student performances of Daughters of the Lonesome Isle

Click here to see excerpts from the rehearsal process

Click on title in video to view full credits.

"Both casts were challenged by the intricacy of this beautiful work and grew immeasurably from their experience in the choreography and style.  I believe they will realize even more as time passes how fortunate they
are to have enjoyed this experience.  We appreciate your expert guidance more than I can say and would welcome the opportunity to work with you again.”

Mary Margaret Holt
University of Oklahoma School of Dance 


Residency at Hofstra University featuring student performances of Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, Creature on a Journey and Hamadryad

Click here to see excerpts from the rehearsal process

Click on title in video to view full credits. 

"Ms. Erdman’s works sophisticated, intriguing and sensitive by nature are no easy learn-one-day-and-perform-the-next experience. These works gave the student dancers a chance to live through a meaningful journey on stage that tested their concentration as performers and demanded that they put the image across with real grace, not mere gracefulness. Furthermore, it gave our audiences the opportunity to witness dance works that not only entertain but also inform the viewer about the human experience. Good work is good work. And these truly are good works.”

Lance Westergard
Director of Dance
Hofstra University  

Jean Erdman inducted into Hall of Fame at National Museum of Dance
, Saratoga Springs, NY with other members of New Dance Group

Celebration of Erdman’s 90th Birthday

Technique and repertory master class at University of Hawaii at Manoa


Creature on a Journey performed as part of the American Dance Legacy Institute National Conference, Skidmore College

Jean Erdman Technique: Dance Training and the Creative Process
master class at National Dance Education Organization National Conference, SUNY Buffalo

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