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Marilyn Cohen Papers

Identifier: D112


Marilyn Cohen was a longtime dance teacher at CU Boulder in the Theatre and Dance Department. This collection covers her work with musical theater, dance courses/workshops she attended, and her teaching materials.


  • 1990-2007

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Biographical / Historical

Marilyn Cohen began dancing as a young child. She studied with Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, Murray Louis, and Doris Humphrey, among others. As a dance graduate of the University of Illinois, Cohen was hired in 1953 by CU to teach dance, which was housed in Women’s PE, where she taught social dance as well as modern. One caveat from dance director Charlotte York Irey was that Cohen had to take the Lloyd Shaw summer workshop in Colorado Springs to learn to call square dance. Once dance moved to the Theatre & Dance Department, Cohen taught modern technique and theory courses, working side by side with Irey, taking on many roles to create a well-rounded dance program. Her modern choreography was known for wit and rhythmic intricacies. One of her main interests was musical theatre so she choreographed for the departmental musicals, those in the CU College of Music, and for Metro State University in Denver who honored her with a Cornerstone Award in 2013 for her contribution to the development of their music theatre program. In her decades of working at CU and with Metro State, Cohen’s energetic personality inspired students majoring in dance, theatre, and music. After retiring from teaching at CU, she continued choreographing musicals for 14 more years. Cohen passed in 2023 at the age of 93.


11.25 Linear Feet (9 containers)

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs, programs, posters, videos, musical scores, notes from dance classes, teaching materials, and a draft of her book Rhythm in Music and Dance.


This collection is arranged in 3 series: 1. Muscial Theater/Production 2. Dance Instruction 3. University of Colorado Boulder Teaching Materials

Related Materials

Marilyn Cohen is a 2005 Living Legend of Dance. Her interview has been placed in: Friends of The Dance Archive 'Living Legends of Dance' Oral Histories (D009.04.0005.00007).

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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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