The Jonathan Wolken Education Fund

July 22, 2010 · 4 comments

in Pilobolus News

Last Thursday, we celebrated the work and memory of Jonathan Wolken, co-founder and co-artistic director of Pilobolus.  If you weren’t able to attend last week, you can read a personal account of the memorial, written by Walter Jaffe and Paul King, friends and colleagues from White Bird in Portland, Oregon.

Jonathan was a choreographer who forever changed the face of modern dance.  Jonathan thought of himself as much as a teacher as he did as a maker of dances.  Mentoring countless students of diverse backgrounds for almost 40 years – from dancers to lawyers, from business people to school teachers – Jonathan employed Pilobolus’ collaborative creative methods to inspire students in any field to push beyond their limits and attain physical and creative goals they never thought possible.  Jonathan’s gift – through his teaching and his choreographic work – inspired courage, knowledge, passion, curiosity, resilience, and delight at the creative process.

In his honor, Pilobolus has established The Jonathan Wolken Education Fund.  This fund will sustain Pilobolus’ collaborative education programs for the next 40 years.

Uses of the Wolken Education Fund will include:

  • the codification and refinement of Pilobolus’ educational method, as well as the expansion of its reach to new populations and areas of group activity, through a Pilobolus studio school as well as in Connecticut and New York public schools,
  • the establishment of the Pilobolus Humanities Program,
  • the initiation of the Pilobolus “Imaginators” Program, which fosters the choreographic leadership of Pilobolus-trained artists, and
  • a targeted funding source for future educational efforts that Jonathan had imagined but had yet to realize.

Donations can be made through our website, or checks made out to Pilobolus (please specify The Wolken Fund) can be mailed to:

Pilobolus Dance Theater
P.O. Box 388
Washington Depot, CT 06794

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Kent July 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Looking forward to watching Jonathan’s legacy continue and develop. The fund is definitely something to watch. I am certain it will lead to amazing possibilities.
Matt Kent


Becca Anderson Darling July 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

This sounds like an amazing new development for Pilobolus. Jonathan would be so pleased. I look forward to learning more about the possibilities that this will offer. As a Pilobolus trained dancer, teacher and choreographer I look forward to contributing artisticly to these new endeavors. The “imaginators” program sounds like an amazing new development for Pilobolus and for Pilobolus Artists.
I was so sad not to be able to share in the events of Jonathan’s memorial. I was out of town with my family, but my thoughts were with everyone that participated and Jonathan’s family.
Sounds like it was a great celebration of his life and his life’s work.


lee michael walczuk October 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm

aloha jonathan:
mahalo for the love, inspiration, sweat, questions, doubts, MOVEMENT, creativity, inspiration……………….i first met and saw the living fungus alive at THE SPACE in nyc…1971.
i was an apprentice to nikolais and louis and i ran ‘foda’ the in-house food source for the artists of the building. i was honored to have ‘catered’ the event in an erehwon manner which later became a way of life for me: nowhere…now here….joan friedman and patrick mcdermott became mr & mrs mcmushroom in the pendleton vermont farm forest with the local justice ….i remember murray louis’ scathing utterances that ‘pilobolus’ was not ready.
jonathan proved then that the fungus of movement did not need anyone’s words………….
mahalo for being a universal artist that has inspired so many individuals to stand up and express themselves in a way that this planet has never seen but now knows…

bravo and blessings
lee (mikel) michael walczuk
kozmo mimzi animation theatre


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