In Memoriam

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Carolyn L. Bilderback ’38

A picture of Carolyn Bilderback

Carolyn Bilderback ’38, February 2, 2008, in California. Carolyn received a BA from Reed in general literature. After graduation, she taught school at Pt. Reyes Lighthouse in California—a one-room schoolhouse set up for the children of lighthouse employees. She received a teacher's certificate from San Francisco State College in 1940, and moved to New York City, where she did special training in dance, choreography, and also the Alexander Technique in body alignment (with Judith Leibowitz). Carolyn was a freelance leader of movement and dance workshops around the country, including at the Manhattan School of Movement, where she taught stage movement and improvisation for 17 years; the Aspen Music Festival, where she did choreography in 1956–58 for productions such as Carmen and My Fair Lady; the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco; the Association of Humanistic Psychology; and the International Women's Writing Guild. She was adjunct associate professor of movement and imagination at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She led interdisciplinary workshops with M.C. Richards, Paulus Berensohn, and Valerie Harms. Carolyn studied dance with Sybil Shearer and others, and performed with the Katherine Liz Dance Company. Her company, the Carolyn Bilderback Dance Theater, founded in 1968, presented at the Judson Dance Theater and Dia Center for the Arts in New York City. In 1992, she published Gatherings from a Dancer's Journal (Magic Circle Press). The book, introduced by Mary C. Richards ’37, contained Carolyn's journal entries from 1975 to 1985, which described her work, and her relationship to New York City and to herself. In 2006, she moved to the West Coast, where family and her friend, Dinah Bachrach ’70 (daughter of her lifelong friend Betty Hazen Bachrach ’40), assisted her in her final years. Survivors include her half-brother, William Bilderback ’61.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2008

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