Lydia Joel

Lydia Joel began her dance career as a performer, but it was as the editor of Dance Magazine that she had the greatest impact on the field. Joel graduated from NYU at age eighteen and studied dance at the School of American Ballet before debuting as a soloist in Max Reinhardt’s The Eternal Road and performing in the premiere of Hanya Holm’s Trend. She taught dance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas from 1938–1944 and toured the Southwest with her own dance troupe. In 1947 she became advertising manager for Dance Magazine and by 1952 was editor-in-chief. Over the next eighteen years, she expanded the magazine from 24 to 120 pages, added more photographs, and broadened the magazine’s focus to cover more kinds of dance—from ballet to modern and even folk styles—as well as international trends. She also covered major dance festivals for other publications, from the New York Times to Vogue. After leaving the magazine in 1970, Joel led the dance program of the School of Performing Arts in New York, creating the curriculum, teaching dance history, and producing annual concerts. She was also a founding board member of several organizations, including the Association of American Dance Companies.


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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lydia Joel." (Viewed on August 7, 2020) <>.


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