Daniel Lewis Biography
Dr. Daniel Lewis Hon DFA, internationally-recognized dancer, teacher, choreographer and author, joined New World School of the Arts (NWSA) in Miami, Florida, in 1987, as founding Dean of Dance. Here, drawing from nearly three decades of experience in the field, Mr. Lewis created the dance division’s eight-year professional program.
In addition to developing and managing NWSA’s dance program, Mr. Lewis has heightened modern dance awareness in South Florida through Miami Dance Futures, a company he formed in 1988. Miami Dance Futures produced the highly successful Miami Balanchine Conference, the Dance History Scholars’ Conference, the National High School Dance Festival and the Modern Dance Sampler. Miami Dance Futures also produces local dance companies, including Houlihan and Dancers and Rosita Segovia’s Ballet Español.
Mr. Lewis is perhaps most widely known for his association with the work of Jose Limón. From 1962-74, he danced with the José Limón Dance Company, originating roles in A Choreographic Offering, Legend, Psalm, The Winged, Comedy and The Unsung. In 1975, Mr. Lewis completed the choreography of The Waldstein Sonata, an unfinished work begun by Limón just before his death.
As Mr. Limón’s assistant for seven years, Mr. Lewis staged the works of Limón and Doris Humphrey for such companies as the Royal Swedish Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, the London School of Contemporary Dance, The Juilliard School, and the José Limón Company. In 1972 following the death of José Limón Mr. Lewis served as the Limón company’s acting artistic director and in 1984 became founding director of the Limón Institute. Mr. Lewis’s book, The Illustrated Dance Technique of José Limón (Harper & Row Publishers, 1984), has been translated in German, Spanish and Japanese. Princeton Book Company released a second addition in August of 1999. In addition, the Technique Video or DVD, is available from Video D. He had two papers published, in Medical Problems of Performing Artists, in 1998 “Health Care for Dance Students at a Performing Arts Academy” and “Dancing with a Prosthesis“. He was Issue Editor for Dance in Hispanic Cultures, Harwood Academic Publishers.
As a choreographer, Mr. Lewis has been commissioned to create works by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Dallas Civic Opera, American Opera Center at Lincoln Center, Amherst College, the University of California, Los Angeles, The Juilliard School, and companies in South America and England. His repertory company, Daniel Lewis Dance Repertory Company, known originally as Contemporary Dance System, performed and taught extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia for 17 years. The company performed the works of Mr. Lewis and other contemporary choreographers, as well as the master works of José Limón, Anna Sokolow, Doris Humphrey, Sophie Maslow and Lucas Hoving to name a few. Anna Sokolow was the resident choreographer for 15 of those years, creating As I Remember, a suite of three early solos, and a new full-evening work called Scriabin based on the composer’s music. Over her years as the resident choreographer, she staged and choreographed many works on the company. Her work Dreams was staged on the company, and in 1975 Anna reworked Dreams for the camera in the CBS television production of Camera 3 on the Daniel Lewis Dance Repertory Company.
From 1984-87, Mr. Lewis was Assistant to Martha Hill, the Director of the Dance Division, at The Juilliard School, where he had been a member of the dance faculty since 1967. Mr. Lewis was also an adjunct professor at New York University and a professor at Amherst College for six years while his company was in residence there.
Mr. Lewis has served on the Fulbright Screening Committee and as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He has serves as a dance panelist and advisor to the Canada Council for the arts, a dance panelist for the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and a grants panelist for many grants for the Metro-Dade Cultural Affairs Council. He has served as Vice president, president and immediate past president for the National Association of School of Dance.
He is currently on the boards the Florida Dance Educators Organization, The Thomas Armor Youth Ballet, Arts for Learning and Miami Dance Futures.
Mr. Lewis graduated from New York’s High School of Performing Arts in 1962 and The Juilliard School in 1967. In 1990, the National Society of Arts and Letters awarded Mr. Lewis the gold medal for Lifelong Achievement in Dance. In 2001 he received The Florida Arts Recognition Award recognizing his outstanding initiatives, leadership and excellence in supporting the arts in Florida. In 2002 he received two awards, he was Honorary Chairman for “dance4life”, and received a Life time achievement award and was presented with the Nancy Smith Award, for consistently demonstrating outstanding leadership and excellence in dance in Florida at the Florida Dance Festival. In October of 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Dance Educators Organization, In February of 2011, Miami Dade County and the City of Miami declared February 5, 2011 as Daniel Lewis Day. On April 6, 2011, he received a proclamation from the floor of the Florida State Senate for his work in the arts in Florida by Senator Anitere Flores. On November 28th He receive the 2011 Martha Hill “Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. On December 14, 2012 Mr. Lewis received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree From the University of Florida. Mr. Lewis received an Education Advancement Award from the José Limón Foundation on April 29, 2013. He received the Doris Leeper Award by the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) in 2017. On March 10. 2019 he was Honored by Dance Now Miami at their 2019 Benefit for bringing the legacy of time and culture to South Florida. On May 11, 2019 he received the Trailblazer award from the downtown Dance Booster Club, for blazing the trail for dancers and art education that changed the future of the performing arts in Miami for generations to come.
He is currently the General Manager and treasurer, of the Florida Dance Educators Organization. On the boards of The Thomas Armor Youth Ballet (president), Arts for Learning and Miami Dance Futures (president). As well as his teaching, choreographing, staging his and Limón works around the world.