ADM21 was founded in February of 2012 by Dr. Nikki Feirt Atkins in order to continue and advance the legacy of the late Lee Theodore, founder of the original American Dance Machine (1976-1987) whose vision was to create a “Living Archive” of great musical theater choreography preventing such works from becoming obsolete. ADM21 continues that vision in order to ensure that significant musical theater choreography, and the techniques that propel these masterpieces, would be preserved, studied and shared in the 21st century – to present iconic choreography exactly as it was intended. Although choreography began being filmed in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, reproducing the steps within the choreography is only part of the story.
Renowned dance artists such as Donna McKechnie, Chita Rivera, Carmen de Lavallade, Leo Holder, Robert La Fosse, Dormeshia Sumbrey- Edwards, and Marge Champion among others have generously coached our dancers in the nuance and intent of the choreographers with whom they worked. This personalized ‘handing down’ of the works with the full depthand story of the choreography is the essence of the mission of ADM21, a legacy which is not able to be learned when works are merely videotap ed. Since its inception ADM21 has reconstructed work by choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, Gower Champion, Gene Kelly, Geoffrey Holder, Donald McKayle, Billy Wilson, Henry Le Tang, Tommy Tune, Susan Stroman, Gillian Lynne, Jerry Mitchell, Rob Ashford, Andy Blankenbuehler, Joshua Bergasse, Warren Carlyle among other notable choreographers.
ADM21 has had the opportunity to demonstrate the significance of that original concept through our master classes, studio showings, special appearances and critically acclaimed theatrical performances. We are thrilled and incredibly grateful for all of the support from our generous donors and the enthusiasm we have received from the dance community enabling us to continue our mission to create
a “Living Archive” of great works of musical theater choreography. In addition, we are establishing The School at ADM21, uniting the work of musical theater’s founding choreographers and teachers with today’s emerging dance artists for the purpose of honoring and advancing the musical theater dance genre. We would like to encourage those of you who would like to join our effort to preserve our musical theater dance heritage to help support our mission.
Please visit our website for updates and information on how you can become involved.
Discover why ADM21 is so vital to American musical theater dance.
With sincere gratitude and great appreciation,
Nikki Feirt Atkins
Founder and Producing Artistic Director