About Barbara Mettler

About Barbara Mettler

Barbara Mettler 1907-2002

Barbara Mettler’s work has been a continuous search for the basic elements of dance which can make it immediately available to all people as a creative art activity.

Believing that dance is a basic human need and that dance-- the art of body movement-- is the primary, central art, she explored new approaches to both the body as instrument and movement as the material of dance.

For sixty years Mettler directed Mettler Studios, which in 1963 found a permanent home at the Tucson Creative Dance Center. Through her studio, Mettler offered on-going classes and intensive courses each year. She taught thousands of people of all ages from kindergarten to elderly, including people with special needs. Her intensive summer- long course attracted large groups of students, many of whom went on to teach creative dance in their own communities or integrate her principles into their professional lives. Her way of work emphasized individual and group improvisation as a means of liberating and cultivating the natural creative movement resources which are in everyone. Mettler’s pioneering research, exploration and practice of large group dance improvisation is recognized as a ground-breaking, unique contribution to contemporary dance. 

A Dancer's History

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Artist or Educator?

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Milestones and accomplishments of Barbara Mettler’s career
• Director of Mettler Studios, Inc.
• Director of Barbara Mettler Dance Company 1954-1991
• Offered 60 years of annual or bi-annual indoor and outdoor intensive dance courses 1934-1994
• Authored 11 books, 12 films, and 7 videos for students and teachers of creative dance
• Taught in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Costa Rica
• Established the Department of Expressive Movement at Keuka College in Ithaca, New York
• Established a dance company and creative dance curriculum at Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica
• Received the Distinguished Service Award, College of Education, University of Arizona
• Received the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in Art Education
• Featured in the award- winning PBS series: The Face of Wisdom: Stories of Elder Women
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