On Saturday, February 21, 2009 friends, family, former students and fellow artists came together to honor and celebrate the life of Doris Rudko, a beloved teacher and artist.
Born in Milwaukee, Rudko was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s dance program, the first dance degree program in an American university, under the direction of the department’s founder Margaret H’Doubler. Just two years later, in 1947, the arts in New York City were forever altered by Rudko’s move to one of America’s beloved dance capitals. Appearing in Broadway musicals, on television, and on the concert stage, it was also here that she was able to study under the tutelage of modern dance pioneers Sybil Shearer, Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Merce Cunningham, while also establishing a close-working relationship with mentor Louis Horst, participating in his dance composition classes and later becoming his assistant at the Neighborhood Playhouse, the Martha Graham School, and the American Dance Festival, where she later became a regular teacher of her own composition classes.
Rudko influenced the dance community in countless ways. From 1949-1963 she served as a faculty member of New York City’s High School of Performing Arts, at one point also serving as acting chair of the dance faculty. She taught dance composition classes at Juilliard for over twenty years as well as at New York University and appeared as a guest teacher in West Germany, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Her attitude both inside and outside the classroom inspired many influential choreographers, including H.T. Chen, Robert Battle, Rebecca Stenn, Neta Pulvermacher, Susan Marshall, Stanley Love, Henning Rubsam, and Tony Powell. Rudko was an associate editor of Horst’s Dance Observer and submitted numerous dance articles to additional publications. She was a member of the dance screening committee of the Fulbright Scholar Program and a founding board member of the Martha Hill Dance Fund. She was honored with the Martha Hill Achievement Award, along with Donald McKayle, in 2004.
The evening included a montage of photographs from throughout Doris’ life as well as a performance of Virginie by Roxane D’Orleans Juste. CDC also dedicated their rehearsal room as The Doris Rudko Studio, ensuring her contributions will never be forgotten. The evening truly was a celebration of her life, legacy, and the immeasurable contributions she made over her numerous years of dedication to the dance field.
Friday, February 21st
Chen Dance Center
70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor