International Yiddish Conference & Retreat

Karen Goodman: Choreography Honors; Studio City, CA

Karen Goodman

Karen Goodman

Karen Goodman’s honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship, L.A.’s Vanguard Award for Choreographic Innovation, it’s Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Achievement in Individual Performance, and a Detroit Jewish Women in the Arts Award. She has choreographed 40 works and 5 solo shows. Works with Jewish themes began in 1992, when she specifically addressed the issue of Jewish identity through movement and text in The Thirteen Levels of Desire, premiered at Japan America Theatre in L.A., and has continued through her most recent choreographies, New Moon and Ruach.

She produced, directed and wrote the 2002 documentary on Yiddish dance, Come Let Us Dance (Lomir Geyn Tantsn), and presented clips of it that year at UNESCO’s 6th Annual World Congress on Dance Research in Greece.  She has contributed biographies on Bella Lewitzky and Margalit Oved to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, and has given papers on Eastern European-born American Jewish choreographers and dancers at scholarly conferences.  Her 2010 AJS paper brought to light a 1930 Yiddish-language article by Nathan Vizonsky, early 20th century Jewish dancing master and author of the book Ten Jewish Folk Dances.  The article was published in The Chicago Jewish Historical Society’s newsletter, December 2011.

She gave Wayne State University’s annual Pearl A. and George M. Zeltzer Lecture on Women in Judaism; In the Footsteps of Miriam:  Dance, Women and Judaism, for the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies in 2010 and two presentations for the ground-breaking conference, Modern Jewish Experience Through the Lens of Dance sponsored by Ohio State’s Melton Center for Jewish Studies and its Dance Department; and presented at IAYC 2011.

Aside from her own film, she has been instrumental in making available to the public in DVD format the important 1969 short doc, The Art of Benjamin Zemach.  Mr. Zemach was a major figure in creating early 20th century Jewish-themed dancetheater.  She has filmed oral histories with famed Yemenite-Israeli dancer Margalit Oved, Felix Fibich, Saida Gerrard, Freda Flier Maddow.

Karen danced with post-modern master Rudy Perez in N.Y. and L.A., Gloria Newman in L.A. and was a founding member of L.A.’s experimental Eyes Wide Open Dance Theater.  She taught modern dance for 21 years at her studio Danceworks, as well as at CalArts, Caltech and the Los Angeles Country High School for the Arts, Santa Monica College and in university residencies and master classes throughout and beyond California.  She is on the Advisory Board of and contributor to the new website, The Dance History Project of Southern California.

Her training includes study with Gloria Newman, Merce Cunningham, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Jose Limon, Yvonne Rainier and Graham technique. She received the first M.A. in Dance Performance from UCLA and a B.A. in Humanities (Honors Program) from Wayne State University.

“…makes us see the art as a way back to the sense of physical and spiritual unity missing in our culture.”     LA Times

[COME LET US DANCE] “…offers not only a step-by-step jumpstart to Yiddish dance, but also a historic appreciation of this waning facet of Jewish cultural heritage.”     The Detroit Jewish News