Dance artist

Highlights

Past and Present

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Photo: Ott Gangl 

         Ellen Kogan has had an extensive involvement with movement and dance for over forty years. She is recognized in the dance world as a consummate performer with a virtuosic technique, emotional and intellectual intensity, and deep curiosity to explore new work.

         Her dance career began as a member of Eugene Loring Dancers and San Francisco Ballet before becoming a soloist with The Bat-Dor Dance Company in Israel and The Cliff Keuter Dance Company in New York City, sponsored by Sol Hurok. In 1981, she founded Kogan Solo Dance, a company of one, created to explore and present solo dance. Her solo work has been critically acclaimed both in the United States and abroad and she has  appeared in major theaters and festivals worldwide including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Joyce Theatre, with Ohio Ballet on the Cleveland Series, and Brooklyn Academy of the Performing Arts, The Place, The Laban Center for Movement and Dance, and Tate Gallery in London under the auspices of the Dance Umbrella in Edinburgh and London. Kogan Solo Dance was funded by The National Endowment for the Arts for seven consecutive years and The New York State Council of the Arts.

         In keeping with her commitment to further and enhance the art of solo dance, Kogan’s current repertoire of 17 dances demonstrates an unusual versatility of ideas of dance idioms, featuring the work of contemporary and postmodern choreographers, as well as reconstructions of founding members of modern dance. Both Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and The Charles Weidman Foundation have commissioned works for her. Most recently she was a guest with The John Mead Dance Company in Singapore where two of her signature pieces were put on the company as part of the company’s 12th anniversary, celebrated at the Soto Studio Theatre. She has reconstructed works by Ruth St. Denis, (courtesy Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival), Doris Humphrey and Helen Tamaris as well as a recollection and tribute to Loie Fuller and Dore Hoyer. At the request of The New Dance Group, she reconstructed Hadassah’s signature solo, “Shuvi Nafshi”. The work was coached by Donald McKayle and premiered in The New Dance Group’s Gala in New York City.  In exploring new directions, Ms. Kogan has also collaborated in performance art, combining elements of the dance and theatre world including “Hollywood Endings”, a theatre-dance project with Lynne Taylor-Corbett.  

         Kogan has taught extensively throughout the United States and Europe and has created several educational workshops, seminars and lecture demonstrations fostering an eclectic view of dance, its cultural and religious impact, and influence on a functional lifestyle.  She recently presented an evening lecture-demonstration to the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts exploring how her own career has served to help children with disabilities. She has been on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Sarah Lawrence College, Lincoln Center Institute of the Arts and Education, New York University, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, The Laban Center for Movement and Dance in England and The Center International de la Dance in Paris. Ms. Kogan has taught her repertoire internationally. She is known for the exquisite care she takes with detail, her fidelity to the artistic merit of each choreographer's work, and a deep respect for her dance tradition.

 

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 Photo: © Jack Mitchell

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Negro Spirituals

Choreographer: Helen Tamiris

(coach: Bruce Becker)

 Photo: © Jack Mitchell

 Photo: © Jack Mitchell

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 Photo: © Jack Mitchell

Shuvi Nafshi

choreographer: Hadassah

(coach: Donald McKayle)

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Waltz and Liebestraum

Choreographer: Ruth St. Denis

Rights granted by Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

(coach: Jane Sherman)

 Photo: © Jack Mitchell

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 Photo: © Jack Mitchell

La Loie - A Tribute to Loie Fuller

Choreographer: Shela  Xoregos

  Commissioned by: The Charles Weidman Foundation

Historical Reconstructions funded, in part,

by the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York State Council of the Arts.

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KOGAN SOLO DANCE 

Choreographers


MANUEL ALUM (1943-1993), born in Puerto Rico, came to the U.S. to study dance. For many years he was principal dancer, choreographer and assistant director for the Paul Sanasardo Company. He formed his own company in 1970 which performed at America's most prestigious dance festivals. The only American dancer ever to receive a US/Japan Friendship Commission, he was also the first foreign artist invited to perform at the National Education Theatre in Japan. Alum's choreography was commissioned by England's Ballet Rambert, Israel's Bat D'or Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Hartford Ballet. Somewhere Between Hours was commissioned by Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival especially for Ms. Kogan to premiere on the 1981 summer season.


ERNESTA CORVINO has danced with Maryland Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company, American Chamber Ballet, the Opera Theatre of New York, and the New York Baroque Dance Company. She performed as a guest artist internationally. In 1981 she formed her own company, ERNESTA CORVINO DANCE CIRCLE COMPANY and has choreographed over 20 works using a wide variety of subject matters and dance styles. She was teacher and co-director of her own school, Dance Circle in New York City, and teaching credits include Juilliard, Sarah Lawrence College, STEPS on Broadway and Suny/Purchase. She was ballet master for the Limón Dance Company between 2006-2016.  Ms. Corvino currently teaches open classes in New York City, conducts workshops throughout Europe, and is ballet master for Tanztheater Wuppertal/Pina Bausch.

 

LOIE FULLER (1862-1928)-The foundations of American modern dance may be said to have begun formally with Loie Fuller. She devised her own dance technique and became fascinated by the effects of varicolored lights on voluminous yards of silk in motion. Her original exploration of the possibilities of theatrical lights and her manipulation of fabrics established innovative and revolutionary uses of costuming and lighting that modern dance companies have improved upon ever since. She is often referred to as "The Fairy of Light." 

"La Loie" was commissioned for Ellen Kogan by the Charles Weidman Dance Foundation. The work was created after the work of Loie Fuller by Shela Xoregos.

ANNABELLE GAMSON is an American dancer and choreographer. She studied with Julia Levien, a pupil of Anna Duncan, May O’Donnell, Helene, Platova, and at the Katherine Dunham School. Gamson appeared first on Broadway before appearing regularly with the American Ballet Theatre. She also performed with Anna Sokolow and was in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Pipe Dream”. In the early 1970’s Ms. Gamson, began focusing on the work of Isadora Duncan. She was critically acclaimed for her interpretations of Isadora’s work giving audiences an opportunity to deeply understand Duncan’s craftsmanship and apparent spontaneity. Gamson drew further acclaim for her performances of the works of German expressionist Mary Wigman and American choreographer Eleanor King.  Her own work has been lauded for its creativity and charm.


HADASSAH (1909-1992), a pioneer of Israeli and Indian dancing in America, was a faculty member, board member and chairwoman of the ethnic division of the New Dance Group Studio in Manhattan. She was a popular teacher, known for her great warmth and caring. A performer of special eloquence, she made her professional debut in 1945 and continued to perform Indian, Israeli, Javanese and Balinese dance through the mid-1970's. Hadassah appeared at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival four times in the 1950's. As a choreographer, she is best known for her solo Shuvi Nafshi as well as Tagore Suite. The work was commissioned by The New Dance Group, coached by Donald McKayle and premiered as The New Dance Group Retrospective Gala in NYC, June, 1993.


DORIS HUMPHREY (1895-1958), one of the main influences in the development of modem dance, was a leading dancer with the Denishawn Company before founding her own company and school with Charles Weidman. During her career, she created many enduring works, formed a distinctive approach to dance movement and codified both technique and theories in her book, "The Art of Making Dances". Doris Humphrey was both teacher and mentor for José Limón and, after retiring as a dancer in 1954, served as co-artistic director of the Limón Dance Company. Valse Caprice was choreographed in 1919 and performed in Denishawn concerts. It was the first professional solo she created. Ellen Kogan reconstructed the piece with the help of Jane Sherman.


CLIFF KEUTER, (1940-2020) a founding member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, established the Cliff Keuter Dance Company in 1969 which toured nationally and internationally for ten years. He later returned to the Bay Area, where he had previously lived as a teenager, and formed the New Dance Company, where he continued to choreography and teach. A choreographer of immense range, Keuter’s body of work includes well over 200 full-length ballets. A recipient of many NEA choreographic fellowships and several New York State Arts Council awards, Mr. Keuter’s choreography has appeared in the repertoires of companies around the world including the Netherlands Dans Theatre, Ballet Rambert, Australian Dance Theatre, Bat-Dor Dance Company, and others. 


IGAL PERRY, born in Israel, is a choreographer, ballet master and educator. Upon arriving in the United States, Mr. Perry joined Dennis Wayne’s Dancers as ballet master and choreographer. During that period, he was also John Butler’s assistant and staged Mr. Butler’s works throughout the world. Mr. Perry’s own choreography has been seen internationally including Florence Dance Festival, Invito Alla Danza, Batsheva and Bat-Dor Dance Companies, Karmiel Dance Festival, Ailey II and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. From 1981-1992, he headed the ballet department at Jacob’s Pillow. In 1983, he launched his dance school, Peridance Capezio Center, now one of New York City’s leading dance institutions. A year later he founded Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, for which he has choreographed over 50 works, with performances at BAM, The Joyce Theatre and City Center. He has served as guest faculty/choreographer at The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Ailey School, Marymount Manhattan College and Juilliard and continues to teach and choreograph internationally.


HEINZ POLL (1926-2006) was the artistic director of Ohio Ballet. After dancing with the Municipal Theatre in Goettingen and the Berlin State Opera Ballet as soloist, he joined the Chilean National Ballet where he spent ten years as principal dancer, teacher and choreographer. When the company came to the U.S. on tour in 1964, Poll stayed in New York and soon became one of the most sought-after teachers on the staff of the National Academy of Ballet. He went on to choreograph three works for the National Ballet of Canada, and to mount a full-length production of The Sleeping Beauty on the Pennsylvania Ballet. In 1967, he co-founded the Dance Institute at the University of Akron and in 1968, formed his own company, the Ohio Ballet, which was regarded as one of the best regional companies in the United States.


JIM SELF first danced with the Chicago Dance Troupe and was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1976-1979. As an independent choreographer, he has received many choreographic fellowships and his work has been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. Jim Self and Dancers participated in a European tour co-sponsored by the American Centre in Paris, the Holland Festival Tanzforum in Koln, and the Kitchen Center for Music, Video and Dance. He and Frank Moore are recipients of a Bessie Award in choreography and film. His work includes collaborations with such visual artists as Edward Henderson, Ken Tisa and, since 1980, Frank Moore. Blue Grotto was commissioned by the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival especially for Ms. Kogan to premiere on the 1981 summer season. 


TED SHAWN (1891-1975) Both Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis have been called "the mother of American Dance", but there is no question that its father was Ted Shawn. When he married Ruth St. Denis in 1914, theirs became a magical partnership that was applauded in theatres around the world. Perhaps more importantly, together they established the Denishawn School as the first systematic and sustained attempt to provide a substantial alternative to ballet. Many of the founding members of modem dance came out of the Denishawn School. "Papa" Shawn's establishment of the Jacob's Pillow School and Festival was the crowning achievement of his many years as choreographer, performer and teacher.


DAFNA SOLTES is the founding director of Libaynu, a theatre/dance  company. She made her New York City debut as a choreographer in 1979 at the Recital Hall of the Abraham Goodman House. As a choreographer, performer and lecturer, her work is focused on Jewish themes and has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Greece and Israel.


RUTH ST. DENIS (1877-1968) began her career in the 1890's. After a highly acclaimed solo career, she and Ted Shawn founded the Denishawn School and Company which, technically, was the beginning of modern dance in America. Ruth St. Denis was a major influence in inspiring the future leaders of the American modern dance world. Her sense of theater brought a whole new dimension to dance as a creative art. Waltz and Liebestraum was reconstructed by Ellen Kogan with the help of dance historian Jane Sherman and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.


CLAY TALIAFERRO, professor of the practice of dance at Duke University, is dedicated through the expressive powers of human movement to the exploration of "what is dance?" For ten years Mr. Taliaferro was principal dancer and guest artist with the Limón Dance Company. He has had extensive involvement with American modern dance for the past three decades as a performer, teacher and maker of dances throughout the Americas, Europe and the former Soviet Union. He continues his professional life beyond the Duke campus through choreography commissions, teaching residencies and guest performances.


HELEN TAMIRIS (1905-1966) belongs with the other great pioneers of modern dance in the late 1920's. Indicative of the revolutionary spirit of this period was her thought that there were no general rules and that each work had to create its own code; that each age creates its own art which however international it may be, must carry the stamp of its environment. In 1929, Tamiris began to attract attention with her Negro Spirituals. Later she became a well-known choreographer of American musicals and then in the 1950's returned to choreograph for the modern dance stage. Negro Spirituals was reconstructed by Ellen Kogan with the help of Bruce Becker.

LYNNE TAYLOR-CORBETT is a choreographer, director, lyricist, and composer. She works in theatre and film (most notably, receiving critical acclaim for her work on the Herbert Ross film “Footloose”) and choreographs for dance companies, both ballet and modern. Her dance works have been commissioned throughout the world, including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She is currently the principal guest choreographer for Carolina Ballet. Credits on and Off Broadway include the “Titanic”, “Chess”, “Cougar: The Musical”, “Wanda’s World”, “Hats”, and “Flight of the Lawn Chair Man”. Taylor-Corbett was nominated for the 2000 Tony Award, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography for the musical, “Swing!” and a 2000 Drama Desk Award nomination for outstanding Choreography. She received a Drama Desk Award nomination for “My Vaudeville Man”. “Hollywood Endings”, a theatre/dance piece was created collaboratively by Ms. Kogan and Ms. Taylor-Corbett. The work was premiered at the Anderson Center Suny Binghamton.  


JAMES WARING (1922-1975) was a leader of choreographers in the 1960’s and made a significant impact on traditional modern dance. His work was a unique form of pictorial theatre. Waring choreographed over 135 works for his own company from 1954-69 and later for such companies as the Netherlands Dance Theatre, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Eglevsky Ballet. Among Waring’s best works are: “Phrases,” “Dances Before The Wall” and “Amoretti”.

SHELA XOREGOS is a freelance choreographer, theatre director and Artistic Director of the Xoregos Performing Company.  She has discovered and premiered one acts by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt and many works by Harlem Renaissance playwrights. Ms. Xoregos directs and choreographs for regional theaters as well as for New York companies. Her productions have played at numerous museums and festivals, both indoor and al fresco including Smithsonian Institution, SF MoMA, the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

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Ellen with Barton Mumaw, pioneer of modern dance, who studied at Denishawn and was one of the original Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers.

Photo taken at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, 1981.

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Ed Delallo

Jess Meeker

Liz Thompson

Bessie Schönberg

Trisha Brown

Choo San Goh

Ellen Kogan

Mathew Diamond

Rosalind Newman

Alvin McDuffie

Loremil Machado

A special summer surrounded by great artists and influencers at Jacob's Pillow 1980

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 Photo: Stephan Driscoll

Blue Grotto

Choreographer: Jim Self

Commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

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 Photo: Stephan Driscoll

Somewhere Between Hours

Choreographer: Manuel Alum

Commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

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Solo Bach

Choreographer: Igal Perry

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Joan Finkelstein and Ellen in the early years

Choreographer: Elina Mooney

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4th from left: Ellen

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Tristeza

Choreographer: Heinz Poll

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More early work "How Deep the Waking"

Choreographer: Cliff Keuter 

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center: Ellen 

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Solo Bach

Choreographer: Igal Perry

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Klezmerised

Choreographer: Ernesta Corvino

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center: Ellen 

Bat-Dor Dance Company, Israel

Choreographers: Lar Lubovitch, Michele Descombey, Don Redlich

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Ellen with Lynne Taylor-Corbett - choreographer, director, lyricist. Lynne works in theatre and film (most notably creating the choreography for the 1984 dance classic, "Footloose") and also choreographs for dance companies, both ballet and modern. Lynne choreographed and directed "Hollywood Endings" for Ellen, a theatre dance work that premiered at the Anderson Center, SUNY Binghampton.

2012 - Ellen's Birthday Party

Carla Maxwell, Andra Corvino, Liz Keen, Ellen Kogan, Liz Thompson, Ernesta Corvino, Joan Finkelstein, Nick Lyndon,

Linda Kent, Alan Kifferstein 

The best present - a generation of acclaimed dance artists

come together to help Ellen celebrate.

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Heinz Poll, (1926 -2006) was described by Anna Kisselgoff as a "ballet choreographer with a modern sensibility". He co-founded Ohio Ballet with Thom Skelton and tended it for 31 years. Heinz created "Tristeza" for Ellen, a spinning solo that recalled the suicide of Dore Hoyer, the German Expressionist Dancer. 

Ellen in Southeast Asia, 2017

Funded by Singapore National Arts Council/ Capability Grant,

presented under the auspices of  the  

John Mead Dance Company, Singapore (JMDC). 

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2017, Igal Perry and Ellen setting "Solo Bach"  for JMDC. 

Manuel Alum's "Somewhere Between Hours" was also reconstructed and presented. Both pieces were originally choreographed for Ellen and premiered at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 35 years earlier. 

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With Igal Perry in Singapore

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Ellen and John onstage with the JMDC company for the final bow

of John's piece "Infinite". 

A 2015 reunion with the University of California at Irvine Dance Department.

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Ellen with Donald McKayle, history maker, professor of dance and Artistic Director for the University of California at Irvine Dance Department. McKayle coached Ellen in the reconstruction of Hadassah's Shuvi Nafshi. The work was commissioned by The New Dance Group and premiered at The New Dance Group Retrospective Gala in NYC.

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Group picture: Donald McKayle, Ellen, Lisa Naugle (Chair) and students of University of California at Irvine Dance Department. The program was started in 1967 by

Eugene Loring, Ellen’s mentor and she was its first graduate.

Mr. Loring taught:

1) Be excellent so you can make a living.

2) Learn many styles so you can work with any choreographer.

3) Be a thinking dancer.

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Ellen continues to teach and re-stage her repertoire on request. KoganSteps Workshops are arranged through each sponsor.