Institute for Advanced Study and Northrop Present

Creating a Movement: The Future of Modern Dance

Part of IAS Thursdays
Past event
Feb 03, 2022
Limon Dance Company

Limón Dance Company Open Rehearsal, Photo © Jayme Halbritter Photography

Janet Eilber, Artistic Director, Martha Graham Dance Company
Michael Novak, Artistic Director, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation
Dante Puleio, Artistic Director, José Limón Dance Foundation
Moderated by Carl Flink, Director of Dance and Nadine Jette Sween, Professor of Dance, University of Minnesota Twin Cities 

Janet Eilber, Michael Novak, and Dante Puleio are the artistic directors of dance companies whose founders created and shaped the American art form of modern dance. As the current generation of leadership for their art form, they are now shaping the future of dance and how it interacts with the larger questions of our time. The conversation will address how three American dance “legacy companies” are inviting new voices and stories to be a part of their futures, including perspectives on diversity, access, education, and climate change. Join these three visionaries to hear about the future of dance and what we can learn from dancemakers about how to move through the world.


DANTE PULEIO A widely respected former member of the Limón Dance Company for more than a decade, Puleio was appointed only the sixth Artistic Director in the Company’s 75-year history, a position that originated with Doris Humphrey. After a diverse performing career with the Limón Dance Company, touring national and international musical theatre productions, television and film, he received his MFA from University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on contextualizing mid 20th century dance for the contemporary artist and audience. He is committed to implementing that research by celebrating José Limón's historical legacy and reimagining his intention and vision to reflect the rapidly shifting 21st century landscape.


JANET EILBER has been Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to Martha Graham’s masterworks and has burnished the reputation of the Company as one of the great cultural assets of the world. Earlier in her career, Ms. Eilber worked closely with Martha Graham. She danced many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles created for her by Graham, and was directed by Graham in most of the major roles of the repertory. She has since taught, lectured, and directed Graham ballets internationally. Apart from her work with Graham, Ms. Eilber has performed in films, on television, and on Broadway received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance.


MICHAEL NOVAK became the second Artistic Director in the history of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation in September 2018, after being personally selected by Founder Paul Taylor to be the official successor of the title upon his passing. A critically-acclaimed dancer of the Company from 2010–2019, Mr. Novak earned a nomination for the Clive Barnes Foundation Dance Award for his debut Season, and is a proud alumni of Columbia University’s School of General Studies, where he received his BA in Dance, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with Departmental Honors. Under Novak’s direction, the Company continues its place as one of the world’s premiere modern dance companies. “I am determined to further Paul Taylor’s vision,” Mr. Novak said upon assuming the role of Artistic Director, “and to bring his gems to every part of the globe… to honor past dance makers and encourage future artists… and to make sure modern dance remains a transformative force for good in our lives long into the future.”


CARL FLINK is Artistic Director of the dance company Black Label Movement (Minneapolis, MN) and the University of Minnesota’s Director of Dance. He was a member the Limón Dance Company during much of the 1990s and performed Paul Taylor's historic minimalist solo “Epic” for a retrospective concert on post-modern minimalism presented by Lincoln Center, NYC, NY in 1992. His commissions and invited presentations include the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME), The Minnesota Orchestra, MADCO (St. Louis, MO), University of Florida Performing Arts (Gainesville, FL), Same Planet Different World (Chicago, IL) and Urbanity Dance (Boston, MA), and multiple TED talks. He is a two-time McKnight Choreography Fellow and the 2020 UMN CLA Dean’s Medalist. Carl holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School.



IAS Thursdays at the Institute for Advanced Study brings ideas, conversations, and viewpoints to the heart of the University of Minnesota. Our events are free and open to the public; IAS Thursdays are designed for scholars from all walks of life.

This event is free, open to all, and will be held via Zoom webinar. You will receive an automatic email reminder one day and one hour prior to the event including your registration link.

Part of IAS Thursdays