In Memoriam: Louise Guthman (1928-2017)

December 18, 2017
Louise B. Guthman

The Department of Dance celebrates the life and contributions of Emeritus Professor Louise B. Guthman (1928-2017). Joining the faculty in 1974, she was instrumental in developing one of the first areas of study in dance production and lighting design in higher education, under the leadership of the Department’s founding Chair, Helen P. Alkire.

Bringing a rich and diverse background to the academy, her early dance experiences included studies at the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio and with Martha Graham, Mary Anthony and Louis Horst in New York, amongst others. She received a B.S. in Applied Arts in 1950 from the University of Cincinnati, and a M.A in Dance Education in 1954 from New York University. She subsequently studied scenic, lighting and costume design, at the Lester Polakov Studio of Stage Design in New York from 1958-1962 and served as a reviewer for The Dance Observer, from 1954-1959, working closely with Louis Horst.

She was a true pioneer in the male dominated world of stage production and lighting design, serving as an assistant to renowned lighting designer, Thomas Skelton, from 1952 until the early 1960’s. She subsequently went on to establish a multi-faceted career as a designer for dance, theatre and opera.  Amongst many accomplishments, she most notably served as the lighting designer and production manager for the Ballet Folklorico De Mexico, touring internationally from 1968-1974. From 1963-1974 she also served as a stage manager for the legendary impresario Sol Hurok.

A tireless champion and supporter of dance, at both Ohio State and in the local community, Louise supported students, faculty, guest artists and local companies with her brilliant designs, indefatigable work ethic and countless behind-the-scenes contributions. Serving as a strong mentor, many of her students and individuals in the field have gone on to achieve successful careers in both higher education and the professional world of dance. The department and the entire dance community honors and celebrates her amazing contributions and legacy. 

 - Professor David Covey