Jim May Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from The Martha Hill Dance Fund

Jim May Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from The Martha Hill Dance Fund

Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble is pleased to announce its founder, Jim May, has been honored by The Martha Hill Dance Fund with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented by Daniel Lewis at a gala dinner on Monday, February 26, 2024, at 6pm at The Manhattan Penthouse.

“Our goal is to honor a professional in the dance field who exemplifies any or all of those qualities for which Martha Hill was most revered — whether an educator or a creative force who has made a significant contribution to the field of dance ‘behind the scenes,” said Carl Wolz, a former student of Martha Hill.

Joan Myers Brown, founder of The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) and the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dancers/choreographers Ronald K. Brown and Jacqueline Buglisi were honored with Martha Hill Mid-Career awards.

Jim May was a devoted disciple of Anna Sokolow for 35 years and co-artistic director of her dance company Players’ Project since 1990. His aim as founder of the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble was to expand the art of dance to include the other arts (music, theater, painting, literature), working toward a progressive new style of theater/dance.

Mr. May was a dancer on the New York scene for over 40 years, having danced with the Limón Company under José Limón’s direction and as a soloist under Carla Maxwell’s direction. Other companies include those of Ruth Currier, Eliot Feld, Kathryn Posin, Kazuko Hirabayashi (soloist) and Daniel Lewis (principal). In addition, he danced with all three of the original DTW founders; Jeff Duncan, Jack Moore and Arthur Bauman. He has danced on Broadway and as a guest artist, he has performed works by Donald McKayle, Don Redlich, Murray Louis, Pauline Koner, and Kurt Jooss.

Mr. May has taught on the faculties of SUNY Purchase, Juilliard School of Music, and Princeton University, and was on the faculty of the Limón Institute for many years. In 1992 he received the Marcus Award for Teaching Excellence from Washington University. He taught extensively in Taiwan, where he founded the company Dance Forum Taipei, and in Mexico at Central de Investigacion Corografica. He has taught at many Universities and schools in the United States, Europe, and South America; he was granted a Fulbright award to teach in Chile. His choreography has been in the repertories of Dance Conduit, Dance Forum Taipei, Thoughts in Motion, and the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble.

Mr. May embraced the distinct dance styles of both Ms. Sokolow and Mr. Limón. He won a 1996 Fulbright Scholarship to Mexico City to extend his studies of his two mentors and their roles in the “across the border” relationship between modern dance in the US and Mexico.

Mr. May received the 1999 Bessie Award for lifetime achievement, “for a sustained achievement over decades as dance’s premiere leading man, an actor-dancer of extraordinary range and scope of character, in the living theater of Anna Sokolow.”

Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble is the living legacy company dedicated to presenting Sokolow’s vast body of emotionally riveting work. Over a 70-year career, Anna Sokolow continuously broke the boundaries of modern dance, focusing on the human experience and accessing any movement genre to fulfill her artistic purpose. The company’s projects include reconstruction, reimagination, deconstruction, historical performance, teaching, lectures, archiving, and partnering with contemporary choreographers—all modes through which we step inside Sokolow’s masterworks and draw from this perspective to better frame our future. ST/DE was founded by Sokolow protégé Jim May and is currently under the artistic direction of Samantha Géracht. For more information, visit sokolowtheatredance.org.

Jim May of Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, Photo credit Frida