Erika Thimey (1910-2006).
Dancer, choreographer, and teacher Erika Thimey died in September.
She was born in Germany and studied at the Wigman School in Dresden. In
1932, she was invited to teach at the North Shore Conservatory in
Chicago, where she brought Wigman's philosophies to her teaching.
In addition to Wigman's technique, Thimey fused dance and
worship and is often credited along with Ruth St. Denis as a founder of
In 1939 Thimey moved to Washington D.C., and four years later
opened her own modern dance studio. In the segregated city, she taught
on both sides of the color line. She joined the faculty at Howard
University, where she taught for the 11 years. Her dancers performed in
the Washington metropolitan area and throughout the U.S., giving free
public performances geared toward children. Her students included Paul
Sanasardo, Viola Father, George Faison, Susan Rethorst, and former Dance
Magazine editor in chief Janice Berman, who wrote about taking class as
a child with Thimey ("Dance With Me," April 2000). Her
biography, Erika Thimey: A Life of Dance, A Dance of Life, was published
in 1999. The Erika Thimey Dance and Theater Company continues to perform