Erika Thimey (1910-2006) was a student of Mary Wigman and Hanya Holm, and was part of the pioneering generation of American modern dance. She made groundbreaking contributions to the development of sacred dance and dance for children's audiences in America. For over 40 years, Miss Thimey's innovative choreography, inspired teaching and philosophy of inclusion and cooperation was an important contribution to the cultural life of Washington, D.C. Her many local and national honors and awards testify to a life fully committed to the arts. Washington Post dance critic Alan Kriegsman called her one of "earliest, most prolific, influential and respected members" of the Washington dance community.


Erika Thimey

March 12, 1910 - September 20, 2006


Photos in this website represent work by many talented photographers.  For photo credits or permission to reprint, e-mail 


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Erika as a Performer & Choreographer

Awards and Honors, 1945 – 2004

1945 American Theater Wing:   Award for outstanding voluntary service

to its Stage Door Canteen of Washington, D.C.

1968 The Association for the Preservation and Presentation of the Arts, Inc.:

Award, 1968 (Washington, DC)

1976 American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER): Special Award of Honor

1976 District of Columbia, Recreation Department

Award for Distinguished, Substantial and Unique Contributions to the Cultural Life of the City of Washington

1980 Modern Dance Council, Washington DC:

Award for the Founding Mothers of Dance in Washington DC

1983 Mayor’s Office, District of Columbia:

Mayor’s Art Award, Washington DC

2000 Erika Thimey Dance and Theater Company, Inc.

Muse Award

2003 International Association of Blacks in Dance:

Award for Contributions to the Development of Dance in

the African-American Community


From 1939 to 1947, Erika Thimey and Jan Veen (Hans Wiener) were dance partners, performing and touring in many venues across the United States.

Erika Thimey gave her first solo theatrical performance in 1932 in Chicago, and continued her performing career until 1957. Her concert choreography has been performed from 1932–1980 under her direction and since 1993 under the direction of the Erika Thimey Dance and Theater Company (ETC).

A pioneer in professional dance theater for children’s audiences, Erika Thimey created a large and diverse repertory, beginning in 1942 and continuing throughout her career. Her dances were performed in theaters, schools, libraries and outdoor venues in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, and on tour throughout the United States.

Erika Thimey was a  pioneer in the development of dance in worship services, giving her first church performance in 1932.  She conceived of sacred dance as fully integrated into worship, at the service of the religious ritual and the congregation, and an independent expression of spiritual life.

Interviews with Erika Thimey and excerpts of her dances will be coming soon.

Erika Thimey's motion choirs, inspired by those of Mary Wigman (first photo,1920), are exemplified in her 1936 site-specific motion choir at Chicago's Buckingham Fountain.