|Died||September 20, 2006|
|Nationality||German, later American|
|Occupation||Dancer, dance educator|
|Known for||Modern dance, liturgical dance|
Erika Thimey (1910 – September 20, 2006) was a German dancer and dance educator, based for most of her career in Washington, D.C.
Thimey performed one season with an opera in Dessau, before she moved to the United States in 1932. In 1936, she danced the lead role of Undine in a large summer spectacle involving over 100 dancers and a live orchestra, celebrating the fountains in Chicago parks. She was dance director at the North Shore Conservatory in Chicago, before she moved to Boston in 1938, to teach and dance with Austrian dancer Jan Veen. She performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and toured the United States with Veen.
Beginning during her Chicago years, Thimey was known for her works in liturgical dance, and was an active member of the Sacred Dance Guild of America. "She regards sacred dancing simply as a modernization of the age-old pageantry of the church," explained a Chicago newspaper in 1941.
Thimey was a dance teacher and choreographer in the Washington, D.C. area for most of her career. She was dance instructor at King-Smith Studio School. She opened her own school, Dance Theatre Studios, in 1944, with classes for adults and children. Her students performed as the Washington Dance Theatre. She also taught modern dance at Howard University, and at various schools, camps, and community organizations. Among her notable students were Paul Sanasardo and Susan Rethorst.
She was a co-founder of the Modern Dance Council of Washington in 1953. She retired from teaching in 1979. There was a retrospective concert of her works in 1980, at an art gallery on Capitol Hill.
Personal life and legacy
Thimey retired to Smithsburg, Maryland in 1979, and lived in a converted church with her sister, Hertha Woltersdorf. The sisters offered their unusual home for performance and exhibit space, and Thimey worked with local churches on liturgical works until 2001. She died at a nursing home in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 2006, aged 96 years.
Thimey's papers, including films, videotapes, and sound recordings, are in the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. There is a 1980 interview with Thimey on video in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library. There is also a 1985 interview with Thimey (audio only) in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. and some correspondence in the Pola Nirenska collection at the Library of Congress.
The Erika Thimey Dance and Theatre Company, co-founded by James E. Mayo, continues to perform in the Washington area. There is an Erika Thimey Scholarship in Dance at the University of Maryland.
- Archive record, Erika Thimey Collection, Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
- Manning, Susan (2006). Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman. U of Minnesota Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-8166-3802-4.
- "Rhythmic Dances With Devotional Christmas Theme". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1935-12-14. p. 7. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "103 South Side Girls in Cast of Fountain Dance; Three Night Spectacle to Open Friday". Chicago Tribune. 1936-07-12. p. 36. Retrieved 2020-04-11 – via Newspapers.com.
- Weber, Jody Marie (2009). The Evolution of Aesthetic and Expressive Dance in Boston. Cambria Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-1-60497-621-2.
- Martin, John (19 December 1941). "Veen-Thimey in Recital". The New York Times. p. 34 – via ProQuest.
- "Boston Dancer Duo Pleases in Program at STC Last Night". The Maryville Daily Forum. 1943-04-02. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Religious Dance for Millikin". The Decatur Daily Review. 1938-03-10. p. 32. Retrieved 2020-04-11 – via Newspapers.com.
- Taylor, Margaret Fisk (2009-11-01). A Time to Dance: Symbolic Movement in Worship. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-60899-131-0.
- "Dancer to Stage Sermon in Motion at Boro Church". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1941-05-03. p. 10. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Lord's Prayer is Theme for Church Dance". Chicago Tribune. 1941-03-23. p. 29. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- Jewell, Margaret (February 1940). "News from the Dance Section". Journal of Health and Physical Education. 11 (5): 316–317. doi:10.1080/23267240.1940.10625910.
- Wolfe, Katherine (May 1950). "Dance Section News". Journal of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 21 (4): 242–246. doi:10.1080/23267232.1950.10626201.
- "Erika Thimey's Dance Theatre Will Dance Two Evenings at Park Arts Festival". The Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland). 1974-06-24. p. 49. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Erika Thimey Dancers to Perform". The Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland). 1975-06-18. p. 7. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "From Washington D.C." Journal of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation: 34. June 1954.
- "Miss Erika Thimey to Dance Sunday at Camp Norfleet". The Burlington Free Press. 1951-08-11. p. 9. Retrieved 2020-04-11 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Paul Sanasardo". Oxford Dictionary of Dance. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- "A Conversation about SUPA: Choreography in Depth". Contact Quarterly. June 2011. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- Jackson, George (1980-05-17). "Erika Thimey". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- Powell, Libbie (1971-06-23). "Smithsburg Church Now Home to Famed Dance Instructor". The Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland). p. 27. Retrieved 2020-04-10 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sussman, Marcella (1980-09-14). "Church Building Becomes Home for 'Church Dancer' (1)". The Baltimore Sun. p. 288. Retrieved 2020-04-11 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sussman, Marcella (1980-09-14). "Church Building Becomes Home for 'Church Dancer' (2)". The Baltimore Sun. p. 289. Retrieved 2020-04-11 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Erika Thimey: dances and conversations". NYPL Digital Collections. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- "Oral history interview with Erika Thimey". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- "Pola Nirenska collection". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- "Erika Thimey Dance and Theater Company". GuideStar. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- "Scholarships, fellowships and grants". School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, University of Maryland. Retrieved 2020-04-10.