Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck
January 08, 1908 - April 23, 2006
Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck was a noted Russian-American pioneer in modern dance, in dance pedagogy and Labanotation. Founder Philadelphia Dance Academy
Nadia Chilkovsky-Nahumck - Bringing Modern Into Modern Dancing
Nadia Chilkovsky was born in Kiev, then Russian empire. Nadia's family immigrated to the United States from Russia when she was a young child, settling in Pennsylvania, where she grew up. Her dancing career began in 1924 at the studio of Riva Hoffman, a well known proponent of Isadora Duncan's dance style. In the early 30s, Nahumck danced with the Irma Duncan company and was well known across America as a premier dancer in the characteristic style.
In 1929 she moved to New York and, wishing to develop and enrich the modern style of ballet dancing, studied with many a leading specialist in various directions of the art, including Hanya Holm, Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Louis Horst, and Anna Duncan.
Two years later she became confident in her own abilities enough to take part into the founding of the New Dance Group, promoting experimental and avant-garde dance techniques.
Encouraged by the successes in Big Apple, she returned to Philadelphia to establish her own dance school, the Philadelphia Dance Academy, in 1945. The school experimented and taught a distinct style which incorporated modern, folk, ballet, Duncan and other dance traditions, employing Labanotation (Labanotation, or Kinetography Laban is a notation technique for recording, translating and analyzing a graphical representation of a dancer's movements on the stage or a floor) extensively.
A statement to the importance of Nahumck's work, her Philadelphia Dance Academy was absorbed by the influential Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts in 1977, and continues its work even today, as the University of the Arts School of Dance!
Nadia Chilkovsky wed Nicholas Nahumck, her friend and colleague in 1941; he would remain her supporter and associate until his very death in 1993.
Nadia Chilkovsky-Nahumck died in 2006, at the respectable age of 98, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, having left behind a contribution to the modern styles of dance - including ballet - that is yet to be rivaled.
Obituary in Nev York Times
The University of the Arts Library Archive