JAN ERKERT

"I really tried to get at a visceral sense of humanity."

Jan Erkert is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She moved to Chicago to dance with Shirley Mordine & Company and formed her own company, Jan Erkert and Dancers, in 1979, for which she choreographed over 70 works. Erkert served as a professor of dance at Columbia College Chicago from 1990 to 2006. She has been the head of the Department of Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2008. 

March 11, 2019: Jan Erkert talks to CDHP from her office at the University of Illinois about her early years of dance study, how she ended up in Chicago after college, and her career there as a dancer and choreographer.

 

June 05, 2019: As a follow up to her previous interview, Erkert speaks more extensively about directing a dance company and a university dance department. She describes different approaches to choreography using past works as examples and discusses the role writing has played in her career.

"I began to want to tell more stories of the forgotten voices."

"I had been rejecting narrative so much, but they took me right back to the narrative and it was a very powerful piece."

"I felt like I was just making all these dances, but I didn't have any time to explore."

"My parents would sit me down every year and say, 'Do you still want to do this? It costs money.'"

All images and video on this site are the property of Chicago Dance History Project. To request permission to use these materials, please contact CDHP.

Full interview videos and transcripts also available upon request.

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