Naima Prevots has been performer, choreographer, teacher, critic, historian, administrator, and in 2019 was awarded NDEO’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Early in her career she performed with Merce Cunningham’s company in 1952 as a student at Brandeis University, in 1955 with Marie Marchowsky at Henry Street Playhouse, and later with Pola Nirenska’s Company in Washington, D.C. Naima’s choreography was commissioned by Princeton Ballet, and the Jewish Community Centers in Maryland and Washington, and in the 1960s she co-founded Dimensions Dance Company, performing and choreographing in many venues.
She is Professor Emerita, American University, where from 1967 until retirement in 2003 she helped found the Department of Performing Arts, serving as Director of Dance and Chair of the Department. From 1971 to 1983 she created a summer program at the university, bringing in companies of Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Murray Louis, Erick Hawkins, Don Redlich, and many others to teach for students and teachers who came from all over nationally and internationally, and to perform for large Washington audiences.
As a critic and historian she has written numerous articles, reviews, monographs, and has published three books: Dancing in the Sun, Hollywood Choreographers 1915-1937; American Pageantry: A Movement for Art and Democracy; Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War. She has served on the boards of many organizations including CORD; SDHS; NDEO; ADG; Fulbright Association, and has been consultant for both National Endowment for the Arts and for the Humanities and the Arts and Humanities Councils of Washington and California. Her consulting includes working in Israel, where she helped develop the High School dance programs. As an arts educator she was designated an Artist in the Schools and was on the staff of PROJECT CAREL, one of the first government supported efforts to bring dance and the other arts into the schools. As the recipient of six Fulbright Fellowships, she worked in Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia, Portugal, and Germany. Naima has been teaching in NDEO's OPDI program since 2012, and created the current course in 2021.