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Viola Farber


FARBER, VIOLA (1931–1998), U.S. dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Of German birth, Farber arrived in the U.S. at the age of seven and became a citizen in 1944. She studied modern dance with Katherine Litz, and Merce Cunningham and also took ballet classes with Alfredo Corvino. In 1953, she became a founding member of Cunningham's company as a dancer and choreographed some of its works until 1968. Among her works from this period are Crises, Paired, and Nocturne. To the Cunningham technique Farber, as a passionate dancer, added her personal contribution of human warmth. Dense, demanding movement and a humorous, bounding enthusiasm characterized her style. In 1968, she founded her own company and began choreographing her own works. Most of her work has been either set to original music or danced in silence. However, in one case her Dune and Nightshade was choreographed to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. She also taught in Salt Lake City and Columbus, Ohio, and served on the faculty of the New York School of the Arts. In 1981–82, the French government appointed her director of the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine at Angers, for which she created nine works, including Nuage and Oiseaux-Pierres, continuing to maintain close ties to France. Her choreographed piece Ainsi de suite was performed at the Avignon Festival.

Sources:[Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]

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