Laura Dean

(b. 1945)

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(b Staten Island, NY, 3 Dec. 1945)

US dancer and choreographer. She studied at the High School of Performing Arts, at the School of American Ballet and also with Hoving, Sansardo, and Cunningham. She made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1965 and also danced with Sanasardo, Monk, K. King, and Robert Wilson. She began choreographing in 1967 and formed the Laura Dean Dance Company in 1971. Her work was strictly minimalist in style, featuring repetitive, often spinning movements, performed in geometric patterns and on a steady pulse. She frequently collaborated with Steve Reich notably in Drumming (1975) and Song (1976), in which the performers vocalized as they danced. In 1976 she changed the name of her company to Laura Dean Musicians and Dancers, reflecting the use of her own musical compositions in her dances, for example Tympani (1980) and Fire (1982, revived 1989). In 1980 she also began to create works for other companies including Night (mus. Dean, City Center Joffrey Ballet, 1980), Space (mus. Reich, New York City Ballet, 1988), and the first section of Billboards (mus. Prince, Joffrey Ballet, 1993). She additionally created several works for ice dance companies, including Reflections (1993). The last work she created for her own company was View over Atlantis (mus. Jon. Scoville, 2000) after which it was disbanded. The Dean Dance and Music Foundation, established in 1972 and then merged into her company, was disbanded in 2007. Dean has taught widely, in institutions including the Universities of Texas and Rhode Island.

Subjects: Dance.

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