MSP 172: Mimi Garrard

By April 15, 2024Podcast

PODCAST 172: Mimi Garrard

Release Date: 4.15.24


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The Journey of Creating Dance for Video with Mimi Garrard

Episode 172: Show Notes

Video dance work has become increasingly popular as technology has advanced, but not many dancers and choreographers have made it their primary medium of work. Today’s guest, Mimi Garrard, is the exception, having spent most of her extensive career focusing on video dance. In this episode of Movers & Shapers, we hear all about Mimi’s life, what led her to dance, her training under Alwin Nikolais, why she chose video dance, and what she loves about it. We delve into how she combines video and live dancing before Mimi expands on how technology has changed her work, the lighting system her husband designed for her, and some of her biggest influences throughout her career and life. Mimi feels that intuition has always been a driving force for her, and today, she tells us how that has served her work. We even discuss how AI might impact her work and what’s next for Mimi Garrard Dance Theatre. This is a fascinating episode filled with unique perspectives carved from Mimi’s special journey, so be sure to tune in!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An overview of Mimi’s life and what led her to dance.
  • Her training and touring program with Alwin Nikolais and the pieces she did with him.
  • How 9/11 influenced her career and how her video dance work has evolved over the years.
  • Mimi’s move to the country, her outdoor work, and how madness is a theme of her work.
  • What informed her decision to combine video with live dance and how it has been received.
  • Dancers and composers that Mimi is currently working with.
  • Who has influenced her work most throughout her career.
  • What Alwin Nikolais was like (according to our guest!)
  • How Mimi got hooked on video dance and how her work has evolved with technology.
  • The lighting system her husband came up with for her dance videos.
  • How Mimi’s intuition has served her throughout her career.
  • The importance of learning and continuously working as a beginner.
  • What’s next for Mimi and her curiosity about how AI will affect her work.
  • Why she doesn’t attend screenings of her own work.

“If I don’t know what to do, it’s my intuition that tells me what to try next.” — Mimi Garrard



Mimi Garrard was a dancer with Alwin Nikolais. He produced her concerts at the Henry Street Playhouse for ten years and then she toured under the National Endowment Touring Program for many years. In collaboration with James Seawright, her work was commissioned for CBS Camera Three and WGBH Boston television. She created more than ninety works for
the stage that were performed throughout the United States and in South America. She received two grants for choreography from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Most recently Mimi Garrard is experimenting in new ways, creating dance for video using digital techniques to transform the dance material. Her work in this area is unique and is gaining increasing attention. This work is shown internationally on television, in museums and galleries, and in festivals. It was also shown on the dome of the planetarium in Jackson, Mississippi, and on the BBC BIG screen throughout England. Over the last four years she participated in 2305 international festivals and won 1280 first place awards. She won the Distinguished Alumnae Award from Sweet Briar College in 2019.

She has a half hour monthly television program on Manhattan Neighborhood Network in Manhattan, New York that is streamed live at the time of broadcast. (247 programs to date) She received a life- time achievement award from the INSTITUTE OF ARTS AND LETTERS in Mississippi for her outstanding achievement in dance both for video and for the stage.


Connect with Mimi Garrard
@mimigarrarddance on

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton