About ADM21


Welcome to the American Dance Machine for the 21st Century

ADM21 was founded in February of 2012 in order to continue the legacy of the late Lee Theodore and The American Dance Machine. Theodore and her Company worked to ensure that significant musical theater choreography, and the techniques that propel such works, would be preserved, studied and shared in the 21st century.

Since our inception, ADM21 has demonstrated the significance of Lee's original concept through our many studio showings, presence on programs such as Dancers Responding to AIDS, Dance Against Cancer, Career Transition for Dancers, The Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, and two successful seasons at The Joyce Theater (2014, 2015–2016).

ADM21 has reconstructed works by choreographers such as Jack Cole "Beale Street Blues" coached by Chita Rivera and Wayne Cilento; Jerome Robbins "Mr. Monotony" and Charleston from "Billion Dollar Baby" staged by Robert La Fosse; Bob Fosse "Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar" from Big Deal staged and coached by Kathryn Doby and Nicole Fosse; "Manson Trio" from Pippin, staged and coached by Pamela Sousa; Gower Champion "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" coached by Marge Champion; "Audition" from 42nd Street, staged and coached by Randy Skinner; Agnes de Mille "Dream Ballet" from Oklahoma coached by Gemze de Lappe; Michael Bennett "Music and the Mirror" and medley from A Chorus Line staged and coached by Donna McKechnie; "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises! staged and coached by Donna McKechnie, Baayork Lee, and Margo Sappington; Gene Kelly "Gotta Dance" from Singin' in the Rain; Patricia Birch "Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed" from Street Scene, staged by Daniel Levans, coached by Patricia Birch; Susan Stroman "Simply Irresistible" from Contact and "Slap That Bass" from Crazy for You coached by Susan Stroman; Gillian Lynne "White Cat Solo" from Cats coached by Gillian Lynne; Wayne Cilento "Pinball Wizard" from Tommy and "Coffee Break" from How to Succeed… coached by Wayne Cilento; Warren Carlyle "Happy as the Day is Long" from After Midnight coached by Warren Carlyle; Margo Sappington "One on One" from Oh! Calcutta!, staged and coached by Margo Sappington; Rob Ashford "Thoroughly Modern Millie" coached by Rob Ashford; Jerry Mitchell "Pick Yourself Up" from Never Gonna Dance, coached by Jerry Mitchell; Andy Blankenbuehler "The Club" from In the Heights coached by Andy Blankenbuehler; Mia Michaels "Calling You" staged and coached by Mia Michaels; Tommy Tune "We'll Take a Glass Together" from Grand Hotel staged by Niki Harris; "Our Favorite Son" from The Will Rogers Follies staged by Patti D'Beck; "Doin" the Production Code" from A Day in Hollywood, a Night in the Ukraine staged by Albert Stephenson; Donald McKayle "Fight Scene" from Golden Boy; Billy Wilson "Sweet Georgia Brown" staged by Carla Earle; Henry LeTang "That Rhythm Man" from Black and Blue; Joe Layton "Popularity" from George M! staged by Lars Rosager; Ron Lewis "City Lights" from The Act staged by Albert Stephenson.

We are delighted by the support we have received and enthusiastic about the steps we have taken toward the future. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported us and encourage all those who would like to join the effort to preserve our musical theater dance heritage.

Support of ADM21 will enable us to continue reconstructing more of these great choreographic works with the original choreographer or with a dancer on whom the work was created, expanding our "Living Archive" of musical theater dance and to continue The School at ADM21, uniting the work of musical theater's founding choreographers and teachers with today's emerging dance artists for the purpose of honoring and advancing the musical theater dance genre.

Please visit our website for updates and information on how you can become involved. Discover why ADM21 is so vital to American musical theater dance.

Thank you!

Nikki Feirt Atkins
Founder and Producing Artistic Director

ADM21 Vision


VISION: To establish American Dance Machine for the 21st Century as a leading center for musical theater dance and to perpetuate the excellence of this genre through the preservation, presentation and education of classic and current notable works of musical theater choreography. show more/less

Founder and Producing Artistic Director

photo: Nikki Feirt Atkins

Nikki Feirt Atkins

Nikki Feirt Atkins
Founder and Executive Director

Nikki Feirt Atkins is a dancer and an M.D. She studied ballet at the Garden State Ballet, New Jersey Ballet and at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York as a trainee. She studied Horton technique with Michele Murray at the American Dance Festival in New London, and with Lee Theodore, founder of the original American Dance Machine. Other prominent teachers included Matt Mattox, Luigi and Betsy Haug, among others. After a brief career as a professional dancer, Nikki went on to obtain her B.A. Magna Cum Laude in biology and performing arts at New York University. She subsequently earned her M.D., completed her residency and fellowships at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell and Columbia and become a practicing pathologist and researcher at Columbia University Medical Center. She has since worked with Chet Walker as an Associate Choreographer for a benefit honoring Stephen Schwartz at The Harbor Lights Theater in Staten Island in 2010, and also worked with Mr. Walker in the early stages of The Jack Cole Project. In February 2012, Nikki founded the American Dance Machine for the 21st Century.

See also: "Nikki Feirt Atkins: Dancer, Doctor, Creative Force…"

Board of Directors

Nikki Feirt Atkins
Melinda Atwood
Joan Finkelstein
David Garfinkle
Carol Lippert Gray
Diane Sunshine
Lynne White


Bookkeeper: Penelope Boehm, Boehm Business Solutions

Development Consultant/Grant Writer: Ava Rosenblatt

Database design/development: Lisa Tenzer, Tenzer Computer Consulting, Inc.

Videographer: Nel Shelby, Nel Shelby Productions

Photographer: Christopher Duggan

Creative/Marketing Consultant/Staff Writer: Karen Giombetti

Costume Consultant: Ricky Lurie

Public Relations: Keith Sherman & Associates

Website design, graphic/logo design: Adrian Grezda, Grezda Design, Inc.

Consulting designer-developer: Marlin Ouverson, External Design

Web support services: Hal Lamster


photo: Lee Becker Theodore photo: Lee Becker Theodore, left, with Gwen Verdon

Lee Becker Theodore (left) 1933–1987. Shown with Gwen Verdon.


In 1972, Lee Becker Theodore, a noted Broadway Dancer, Choreographer and Director, had the vision to create a "Living Archive" of musical theater dance to address her belief that many great choreographic works are lost with the production of the musical they once embellished.

Lee Becker Theodore in rehearsal

Lee Becker Theodore

Of great concern was that the artistry of such dances was being sacrificed with each attempt at reproduction, and that the dancers who interpreted the choreography were becoming less and less informed as the techniques, which supported these works, vanished with the teachers who founded them.

That was the impetus that drove The American Dance Machine from its pilot program in 1976 to its final days following the death of Lee Theodore in the late 1980's.


Obituary: Lee Becker Theodore, New York Times

Excerpts from "American Dance Machine: the Era of Reconstruction", Dance Magazine

Two video numbers preserved by the original American Dance Machine:

Gwen Verdon and The American Dance Machine perform Joe Layton's "Popularity" from George M! (1968) with Gwen Verdon as host. Watch it here.

"Over Here!" (1974), choreographed by Patricia Birch (1974), starring Wayne Cilento and Donna McKechnie and the ADM dancers, including Mark Esposito and Paul Mack. Watch it here.

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American Dance Machine for the 21st Century

45 East 80th Street, #18B • New York, NY 10075