In memoriam: Myron Nadel
Myron Howard Nadel, who taught dance at UTEP, passed away on Sunday, March 5, 2023. Myron was a beloved dance professor for the UTEP Department of Theatre & Dance for almost 25 years, and was rewarded with the distinction of being a Professor Emeritus for his contributions to the university.
Professor Emeritus, Myron Nadel, served UTEP for almost 25 years. An alum of the prestigious dance program at Juilliard, Prof. Nadel loved to recount unique anecdotes with his distinctive narrative spirit and shared his direct experiences in the New York and U.S. dance scenes, from the 1950s-2000s. While cultivating his life-long commitment to dance pedagogy, he studied with Katherine Dunham, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage, among others. A mentee of Mexican-American modern dance choreographer José Limón, innovative ballet choreographer, Anthony Tudor, and ideokinesis innovator, Dr. Lulu Sweigard, Prof. Nadel embodied, transmitted, and elaborated on the teachings and philosophies of these key figures in the international development of dance in its technical, choreographic, physical, and social aspects. His commitment to the artistic and scholarly affirmation of dance and the success of his dance students manifested throughout Prof. Nadel’s career as an educator, mentor, scholar, performer, and choreographer.
Prof. Nadel was a pioneer for the establishment and recognition of dance in higher education as an autonomous academic discipline in dialogue and distinguished it from other fields such as physical education or music. In the mid-1960s, he established the Dance Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and later chaired the prestigious Music Theatre program of Carnegie Mellon University, until he arrived at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he served as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, while also contributing as Vice President of the Texas Council for the Arts in Education. Prof. Nadel was a preeminent scholar investigating the needs of college students approaching the study of dance for the first time in classes such as “Dance Appreciation,” through a best-selling textbook entitled, The Dance Experience: Insights into History, Culture, and Creativity, first published in 1970 and revised and updated in several editions––the latest in 2014. In 2012, Prof. Nadel co-authored Looking at Contemporary Dance: A Guide for the Internet Age, an urgent and innovative book, also widely adopted across campuses in the US, to address the presence of dance as a complex, global, and transnational practice in the digital realm.
Prof. Nadel generously manifested his commitment to dance students at UTEP through the annual dance scholarship he established with his wife. The Myron H. Nadel and Jane E. Poss Dance Scholarship has supported many students in their pursuit of their education and careers in dance as educators, performers, choreographers, art administrators, and community art facilitators.
Prof. Nadel’s prestigious career, his artistic and scholarly distinction, and the generous scholarship support are not only a point of pride but also a foundation for the positive impact that the UTEP community of dance artists and educators have on the Paso del Norte region.
Prof. Nadel never stopped learning, researching, and advocating for dance and dance students. In the past months, he had been working on establishing his archive at UTEP, a project that hopefully will come to fruition in the near future.
Next Fall, the National Dance Education Organization will honor Professor Myron Nadel’s career and legacy in a dedicated panel.