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Lee Theodore's American Dance Machine: 1976 - 1987

ADM21 has a rich history of artistic excellence.

The original American Dance Machine was founded in 1976 by Lee Becker Theodore, a noted Broadway dancer, choreographer and director, who envisioned the creation of 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. Of great concern was that the artistry of these 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, would vanish 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.


Prior to the late 1960s, the books and scores of shows were preserved for posterity, but the dances within these shows were at risk of being forgotten, as the choreography was not officially filmed. Through research and careful reconstruction, ADM21 enlists either the living choreographer or the dancers on whom the choreography was set. This is crucial to ensure that the original nuances and the choreographers’ intent would not be lost over time.

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