Deborah Jowitt is one of the most accessible dance critics, spending her life capturing the diversity of dance in her reviews, particularly in New York City. Jowitt’s work focuses equally on ballet and modern dance with a love for both styles.
I believe Jowitt’s experience as a dancer and choreographer helps in her translation of what is seen in the theatre to what is seen on the page. Jowitt wrote for the Village Voice between 1967 and 2011, has written for The New York Times, Dance Research Journal, and Ballet Review among others. Her reviews form a powerful set of literature, with a sense of poetry and movement that is captured in her writing. Jowitt continues to review for the pure love and joy of the practice of criticism. Her work can be found here.
Jowitt has written a series of four books, with her latest which focuses on the life and work of Jerome Robbins; Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance published in August of 2004 by Simon and Schuster. In the interview Jowitt discusses her latest book projects, documenting the life of Martha Graham. She said of her husband: “He is worried I won’t finish the book before I die”.
Jowitt remains one of the most influential voice of dance, with a legacy that will continue for generations to come. Jowitt taught in the Tisch School of the Arts from 1975-2015.
Jowitt was brought over to Australia, by Dancehouse, Melbourne as part of the Keir Choreographic Awards. I took the opportunity to speak to Jowitt in her hotel room, right next to a noisy construction site. Totally in awe of Jowitt and the impact that she has made on dance, I was speechless for most of the interview, but we talked about everything from the importance of criticism, the changes in dance in New York, the impact of the AIDS epidemic on dance, the gentrification of New York, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Pina Bausch’s influence on dance, gender equity and a whole range of other topics.
Discover more about Deborah Jowitt:
Conversation How to write about dance.
The Joyce Theatre – Dance Talks, Jirí Kylián / Last Touch – Deborah Jowitt
Jowitt discussion NDT2- Defining Beauty or Defying it.
Faculty Performance Workshop at Tisch choreographed by Jowitt
Next episode will be with Sydney Dance Company, Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela followed by founder of Chunky Move, Gideon Obarzanek.