Alice Teirstein, founder of Fieldston dance school, 93


Alice Teirstein, choreographer, dance educator and founder of the acclaimed Young Dancemakers Company — a free, intensive summer choreography program for New York City public high school students — passed away on Nov. 25, 2022 at her Upper West Side home. She was 93.

Her mentorship fostered generations of young choreographers and dance teachers. She also founded the Fieldston Dance Company at Ethical Cultural Fieldston School. YDC, now entering its 27th year, continues to provide New York City public high school students with the opportunity to create and perform original choreography in venues throughout the city.

She was devoted to teaching, reaching young dancers in various settings from early in her career.

She is often quoted as saying, “Young people have a lot to say, and I know they can say it with dance.”

She received numerous awards, including a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Service to the Dance Community in 2012, as well as lifetime achievement awards from he National Dance Education Association in 2015, the Israel Library of Dance in  2017, and Dance Teacher magazine in 2021.

She was professor of dance and theatre at Marymount Manhattan College, Lehman College and Ramapo College. In 1976, she founded the dance program at Fieldston, where students choreographed and performed original works and toured to off-campus venues, including homeless shelters, public schools, community centers and prisons.

She was the artistic director of Nimbus Dance Theatre Company with Erin Martin and Jack Moore. Her many original works — including “Foxtrot” and “Living Room” — have been performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Symphony Space and Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts).

A born performer, she has danced with artists including Hanya Holm, Pearl Lang, Janis Brenner, Jody Oberfelder, Claire Porter, Stephan Koplowitz, and Gus Solomons Jr. Her humorous duet with Stuart Hodes, “I Thought You Were Dead,” was performed at many prominent venues, including Joe’s Pub.

Born to Jack and Anne Sobel on Feb. 6, 1929, she married Dr. Alvin Teirstein in 1951. They raised four children.

She and Al were respected in their fields and envied on the dance floor. She received a bachelor of dramatic arts from Adelphi University in 1950, and a master of arts in dance education from Columbia University in 1974.

She is survived by her four children: Mark (Chatty), Paul (Jackalynn), Andy (Olga) and Eva (Arnold); and grandchildren Amanda (Scott), Jason (Katia), Zoya, Max, Nicky and Anna, along with great-grandchildren, Michael, Jake, Zosia and Desmond.

The Riverside Memorial Chapel handled arrangements. In lieu of flowers, make contributions to the Young Dance Makers Company at


Alice Teirstein, Young Dancemakers Co., Fieldson Dance Co. at Ethical Cultureal Fieldson School, Alivin Teirstein, Marymount Manhattan College, Lehman College, Ramapo College