Frances Alenikoff

Dancer, Writer, Artist
Frances Alenikoff

    Frances Alenikoff, who choreographed over 90 dance theater works, died on Saturday at Southampton Hospital at the age of 91, of complications following a stroke. She had lived full time on Hog Creek Road in Springs since 2002, while spending time in Mexico, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Hong Kong, where she lived for five months as artist in residence with the Modern Dance Theater of Hong Kong.
    “As a dancer-choreographer for many years, I was fascinated by the relationships of shapes, images, and forms . . . The same pleasures intrigue me now in my artwork,” Ms. Alenikoff once wrote.
    Her solo dance piece “Re-Membering” was named Choreographer’s Choice in The Village Voice’s “Best of Dance ’96.” A film by Robert Machover called “Shaping Things” documenting her choreographic process won the Cine International Golden Eagle Award.
    Ms. Alenikoff toured extensively, both nationally and internationally, and founded two dance companies, the Aviv Theater of Song and Dance in 1959 and the Frances Alenikoff Dance Theater in the ’70s. She was also a founding member of the Dance Theater Workshop of New York.
    Known also as an accomplished writer and artist, she was the staff dance reviewer for Dance News for 12 years and also wrote a column for Craft Horizons Magazine. Her essays, poetry, and drawings have appeared in many other periodicals.
    Her artwork, including collages, drawings, mixed-media works, and paintings on stones, have been shown in galleries from Los Angeles to New York, and locally at the Crazy Monkey Gallery in Amagansett and at Ashawagh Hall. Ms. Alenikoff was a member of the East Hampton Artists Alliance.
    Born on Aug. 20, 1920, in New York City to Clement Jack Lipman and the former Ruth Alper, she received a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College before joining Katherine Dunham’s dance school, where she was one of only two white students.
    Ms. Alenikoff married twice, once to Rabbi Martin Freedman and then to Jules Alenikoff. She is survived by a daughter, Francesca Rheannon of East Hampton, one grandchild, and one great-grandchild.
    A memorial service is planned for the fall. The family has asked those who have memories and reflections of Ms. Alenikoff to share them by mail at 68 Hog Creek Road, East Hampton 11937, or by email to


frances, r.i.p.
she was a beauty, with a wonderful long life.. r.i.p. frances with love!
I first met Frances Alenikoff when she arrived at UCLA Dance Department and conducted the workshop outdoors. Later her spectacular solo performance as Cleopatra with amazing multimedia art was the most unique dance I had experienced as a young student. Years later I danced in one of Frances' film projects at Eden's Expressway, a working and performance loft which was also where she lived. Dear Frances your passion, artistry and untiring love and devotion for the art of dance was truly inspiring to us. Never compromising, always searching for new ideas, and never judgmental, you forged ahead in bold ways that made a mark on the dance world in a totally uncommercial way. You will always inspire me with your youthful outlook, humor and mischievous expression in all the forms of art you melded with the dance. My deepest condolences to your family. I know that Frances will continue to be our muse as she rises to the next stage. We must honor her always for her courage.
Frances was a one of a kind wonderfully creative woman. the world needs more like her.