100 Dance Treasures

Meredith Monk Menu

Meredith Monk, Photo by Monica Moseley Pictured: Meredith Monk performs in and directs her own works, which combine music, dance, film, and theater arts. (Photograph courtesy of Monica Moseley.)

One of the most innovative and multifaceted artists to emerge from the Judson Dance Theater, Meredith Monk (1942- ) was born in Lima, Peru. She studied piano from age three and both music and dance at Sarah Lawrence College. Settling in New York City in 1964, she performed with Judson but soon began creating large interdisciplinary events that in their combination of media—film, video, dance, cabaret, music, monologue, and dramatic tableaux—continue to defy description. In 1968 she founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance; this was augmented in 1978 with the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble. Many of her works—Education of the Girlchild (1973) is one example—have an epic dimension. Others evoke a dream world or manipulate the geography or history of a specific site; still others attend to personal catastrophe within the larger cataclysm of war. She refers to many of her works as operas, although they are performed using highly stylized movement. In 1995 she received a prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur fellowship. www.meredithmonk.org

Learn more in Meredith Monk by Marcia B. Siegel.

Education of the Girlchild, 1973, choreographed and performed by Meredith Monk,
was an opera in which Monk began developing the "personal mythology" that
informed her work.