Emma Lewis Thomas

© Bärbel Morton

Emma Lewis Thomas

Emma Lewis Thomas was born in Charleston, West Virginia. After completing her BA-degree and gaining a scholarship to study in Paris in 1953, she began her professional training as a dancer as a master student of Mary Wigman in Berlin (1954-58). At the same time, she performed at the Städtische Oper Berlin and the Mannheimer Festspieltheater in productions such as “Sacre du Printemps” and “Carmina Burana”, while also developing her own projects at various independent theatres in Berlin, Paris and Zurich. Emma Lewis Thompson earned a doctorate for her dissertation on Brecht’s adaptation of Gorki’s “The Mother” (Indiana University) and was an active member of the International Brecht Society, the Modern Language Association, the American Association of Teachers of German and the American Dance Guild. In 1971, she was appointed professor at UCLA, where she focused on the study of French, German, Danish and Italian dance sources and various forms of notation from the 15th to the 19th century. She translated her findings into movement and used them for her own productions. In 1982, she was a visiting professor for dance history at Justus-Liebig-Universität in Gießen. In the winter semester of 2013/14, she held the Valeska-Gert-Guest-Professorship of FU Berlin. Officially retired since 1998, Emma Lewis Thomas continues to be active in the field of dance, featuring in numerous performances, such as Shakespeare’s “All’s Well that Ends Well” (2000), “Reflections on Kreutzberg” (2005) or a recreation of “Le Sacre du Printemps” (2013).

As of March 2016

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