Nancy Meehan was a highly original choreographer and dancer known for creating evocative, plotless works based on nature. Meehan’s early mentors were Anna Halprin and Erick Hawkins, and it was Hawkins who brought her to the Pillow in 1964 for her only performances here. During that engagement, the only time that the Erick Hawkins Dance Company appeared at the Pillow during his lifetime, Meehan danced in two group works, including Cantilever
. She continued in the Hawkins company until 1970 when she founded the Nancy Meehan Dance Company, where collaborators included her husband, designer Tony Candido. She was born in San Francisco and performed with Anna Halprin from 1953 to 1956 after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1960, shortly after moving to New York, she improvised dances with two colleagues who would become pioneers of the Judson movement, Yvonne Rainer and Simone Forti. Meehan staked out her own aesthetic and her New York Times
obituary called her “a proud outlier.” She was quoted as proclaiming, “Dare I say I am trying to make beautiful movement, beautiful moments, beautiful dance?” Meehan died in Manhattan of pneumonia in November 2016, at 85.
Source of Biography
Written by Norton Owen for Jacob's Pillow Remembers.