Skip to content ↓

Choreographer Solomons creates new work for MIT students

Sophomore Anna Bergren watches as world-renowned choreographer Gus Solomons instructs other MIT dancers.
Sophomore Anna Bergren watches as world-renowned choreographer Gus Solomons instructs other MIT dancers.
Photo / Justin Allardyce Knight

Have you ever seen a library dance? That's the question students in the new MIT Dance Theater Ensemble are asking.

The Rotch Architecture Library (Room 7-238) will undergo a significant change of purpose on Sunday, Sept. 29 when internationally renowned choreographer Gus Solomons jr., currently artist in residence in the music and theater arts section, uses the space to create "Crowd." - a new environmental work (the title includes a period). The 10-member ensemble, sponsored by music and theater arts faculty, will perform "Crowd." to an original musical score composed and performed by Brian Robison, assistant professor of music.

The performance, to be followed by a reception, will take place at 12:30 p.m.

Solomons, an MIT alumnus (B.Arch., 1961), has performed with national companies including Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. He has received many honors, including a 2000 Bessie Award for his contributions to choreography and dance. He is artistic director and founder (in 1972) of the Solomons Dance Company, for which he has created more than 100 dances. He also has created more than 70 works as a soloist in the companies of Donald McKayle, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. In October 2000, he received the first Robert A. Muh Award honoring an MIT graduate for noteworthy contributions in a School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences field.

Of Solomons' work, Associate Professor of Theater Arts Thomas DeFranz writes, "Drawing on his experience at MIT, [Solomons] conceived dance as 'melted architecture' and undertook a clinical, postmodern approach to dance-making that linked a fascination with puzzles and architectural design to the process of 'kinetic autobiography.' The resulting abstract, nonsequential choreography was marked by its lean incisiveness and effect of fragmentary collage."

Solomons teaches dance at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and reviews dance for the Village Voice, Dance magazine and the Ballet Review.

Solomons' residency is sponsored in part by the theater arts section, as well as the Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholars Program.

The work will be performed again in an altered form at the MIT Dance Theater Ensemble fall concert on Dec. 5, 6 and 7 in Kresge Little Theater. Tickets for the concert will be sold two weeks before the event.

For more information, e-mail DeFrantz (, faculty advisor to the MIT Dance Theater Ensemble.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 25, 2002.

Press Mentions

The Boston Globe

Gus Solomons Jr. '61, a “groundbreaking force in modern dance” has died at 84, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. “Teacher, student, dancer, and choreographer, [Solomons Jr.] was based in New York City and commuted to Boston to spend each Tuesday teaching,” writes Marquard. “Performances with numerous dance groups in both cities packed his calendar, even before he made history as the first Black member of the legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company.”

Related Topics

More MIT News