In 1985 Christian Blackwood embarked on a documentary project about his landlords and neighbors at 115 Bank Street in Manhattan, Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis.
Alwin Nikolais was a student of the greats of modern dance, Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Louis Horst, and others at Bennington College in the 1930s. After WWII his career as a choreographer took off rapidly. He soon was appointed director of the Henry Street Playhouse where he formed the Playhouse Dance Company later known as the Nikolais Dance Theatre. At Henry Street, Nikolais realized his own vision of an abstract dance theatre. In his view man is part of a total environment and he redefined dance as “the art of motion which, left on its own merits, becomes the message as well as the medium.” Murray Louis joined Alwin Nikolais at Henry Street and became an important innovator in the Playhouse Company and his leading dancer and longtime collaborator.
In this film, Christian Blackwood accompanies Nik and Murray during a season of performances of new work, both in the U.S. and abroad. A lively portrait of the two choreographers in which they reveal their insight into the dance and their way of creating work. Alwin Nikolais died in 1993.