Bessie: A Portrait of Bessie Schonberg


  • Bessie Schonberg danced with Martha Graham until a knee injury forced her to quit and turn to teaching. For the next 70 years, she inspired and challenged other dancers and choreographers; Merce Cunningham, Jerome Robbins, Meredith Monk, Lucinda Childs and Ronald K. Brown are just a few who were influenced by her passion for dance. The prestigious New York Dance Award, the Bessie Award, was named after her.  Bessie tells us her own incredible story intercut with personal and archival footage as well as film of her teaching choreography at Juilliard, Dance Theater Workshop and Jacob’s Pillow.


    “Few dance educators were as respected as Miss Schonberg and because of the devoted attention she gave to students, few were as beloved.”


    Jack Anderson, The New York Times

  • A film by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker 1998, 58 min, color.