The reason that I chose Alwin Nikolais was because of his utilization of technology and multimedia within his dances. My Father is a structural engineer. Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of technology, science, and mathematics. This made me very interested in the shapes and structures of the man-made world. My Mother was an environmental advocate for the government. Growing up, I was exposed to plants, animals, and nature. Thus I was also exposed to the shapes and structures of the natural world. I feel that Nikolais’ approach to dance making is not only about the use and blend of technology with movement, but also shapes and the effects that these shapes can make. I enjoy the shapes and effects that Nikolais’ work, and how they make me feel as an audience member.
I believe that the public should take notice of Alwin Nikolais because he is truly one of the Founding Fathers of contemporary modern dance. His works are not only innovative, but uniquely original. Much of his work does not have a contemporary counterpart; it is uniquely his own.
Many contemporary dance companies take pages out of Alwin Nikolais book. One company in particular is Pilobolus. Although Pilobolus does tend to use non-dancers, unlike Nikolais whose dancers were highly trained, much of the company’s works are highly technological, unique costumes, and the choreography was meant to create movements and shapes on stage. Besides Pilobolus, many dance companies today utilize multimedia technology, strange/elaborate costume, and unique movement; all concepts directly descend form the Alwin Nikolais Dance Company.