about debra levine

Los Angeles-based dance writer Debra Levine’s criticism and feature articles have appeared for more than three decades in the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, La Opinión, Long Beach Press Telegram, South China Morning Post and Dance Magazine.

In the Fall of 2016, Debra was a resident fellow at The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, furthering her research into Hollywood dance history.

A specialist in the jazz choreographer Jack Cole, Debra curated “All That Jack (Cole),” an historic 18-film retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in January 2016. Among her published writings on Cole is her curator’s essay for MoMA’s “Inside/Out” blogsite, as well as an extended essay written for the Dance Heritage Coalition.

Debra Levine, Carmen de Lavallade.

Beyond her presentations at MoMA, Debra has produced and hosted events at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Dance Camera West, The American Cinematheque, and the Hollywood Heritage Barn.

In August 2012, Debra produced “A Tribute to Choreographer Jack Cole,” screening “The I Don’t Care Girl,” with star Mitzi Gaynor in person. In September of that year, she co-hosted, with Robert Osborne, “Choreography by Jack Cole,” a full-evening broadcast on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

With the Academy Award-winning actor George Chakiris, Debra has produced numerous talks and events. At MoMA, she hosted “George Chakiris: A Life in Film,” screening “Bebo’s Girl.” For UCLA Film & Television Archive, she produced “An Evening with George Chakiris,” screening “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.” For the Los Angeles Conservancy’s “Last Remaining Seats” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center, she interviewed Chakiris prior to screening “West Side Story.”


Her research into the Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff spawned an illustrated lecture, “Theodore Kosloff and Cecil B. DeMille Meet Madam Satan,” delivered at The Museum of Modern Art and at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre for the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles.

mme-satan-320-240Debra’s long essay on Kosloff and DeMille was published by the University of Southern California Institute of Modern Russian Culture “”Experiment” No 20 (Brill: 2014). She also contributed the Foreward to “Gotta Dance: The Art of the Dance Movie Poster” (Lagoon Press: 2014).

Debra was a Spring 2016 recipient of the James and Sylvia Thayer Research Fellowship given by UCLA LIbrary Special Collections. Additional support for Debra’s dance scholarship has come from the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation and the Mimi and Mortimer Levitt Foundation. She was twice a Fellow at National Endowment for the Arts arts journalism Institutes (dance and classical music/opera). She was twice a critic in-residence at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Debra is editor/publisher of arts•meme, the fine-arts blog she founded in 2008.