Ze'eva Cohen - Biography

Ze’eva Cohen is a dancer, choreographer, and dance professor emeritus at Princeton University. Cohen came to New York from her native country, Israel, in 1963 to study at the Julliard School and perform with the Anna Sokolow Dance Company. She was also a founding member of Dance Theater Workshop, where she worked as a choreographer and dancer from the mid-sixties to the early seventies.

In 1971, she initiated her pioneering and highly acclaimed solo dance repertory program, which toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel for twelve years with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts Residency Touring Dance Program. The repertory included commissioned works, reconstructions, and her original choreography, comprising tweny-eight solos by twenty-three choreographers. In 1983, she founded Ze’eva Cohen and Dancers, a company for which she developed a diverse group repertory, performing in New York and on national tours. Cohen has also choreographed works for the Boston Ballet, Munich Tanzproject, Batsheva Dance Company, Inbal Dance Theater of Israel, The Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Company, and many other national dance companies. Since 1996, she has been choreographing, producing, and performing Negotiations and, later, Female Mythologies, programs dealing with cultural, political, and social issues, focusing on women’s myths and lives.

In 1969, when Princeton University first admitted women undergraduates, Cohen was asked to teach and build a dance program in the context of the Program in Theater and Dance. She served as Head of Dance until June 2008. In 1999, Cohen was recruited by the International Baccalaureate Organization to assemble a committee of international artists and educators to create the curriculum and assessment criteria for Dance. This has become an ongoing activity involving international teacher training workshops and overseeing the appropriate application of the assessment criteria and standards in final examinations.

The world premiere of her documentary film Ze’eva Cohen Creating A Life In Dance was screened at the Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center on February 3rd, 2015.  More than a legacy project, the 32-minute film is a model of how an artist can survive in the dance world by carving an independent path for herself. Primarily narrated by Cohen, the documentary spans 70 years, encompassing her life as a dancer, choreographer, and educator at Princeton University.

High art can be, and indeed should be, entertaining. The wonder of dancer Ze’eva Cohen was that she not only accepts this principle, but achieved a flawless balance between intellectual and venal considerations... There is high art for you... Cohen is a genius in the field.”
— The San Francisco Chronicle