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Bella Lewitzsky

Irene Borger in conversation with Bella Lewitzsky

Bella Lewitzsky (1916 - 2004) was a modern dancer, choreographer and noted teacher.

The interviewer, Irene Borger, is a writer, teacher, and director of the Alpert Award in the Arts.

Lewitzky was born to Russian immigrant parents in Llano del Rio, California. Her family later moved to San Bernardino, where Lewitzsky studied ballet. In 1934, she joined Lester Horton's company, later becoming its lead dancer, and where she was instrumental in the development of the Horton Technique.

In 1946, Lewitzky founded Dance Theater of Los Angeles with Horton. Dance Theater of Los Angeles was one of the few institutions in the United States to house both a dance school and theater under the same roof. She left the company in 1950 to pursue an independent career.

She choreographed several films, and in 1966, founded the Lewitzky Dance Company (later renamed Bella Lewitzky Dance Theatre).  Under her artistic guidance, the company became one of the leading international modern dance companies. She received many awards including honorary doctorates from the California Institute of Arts (1981), Occidental College (1984), Otis Parsons College (1989), and the Juilliard School (1993).

Ms. Lewitzky served on the dance panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and on the California Arts Council and was the recipient of the Dance Magazine Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Tiffany Award, the National Medal of Arts, the Capezio Award and, in 1989, the first California Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement.

This interview originally aired on KUSC on October 1, 1988

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