Judith Chazin-Bennahum, dancer, teacher, researcher, and choreographer was born in New York City. Bennahum attended the old Performing Arts on 46th street where she was a ballet major. She became Principal Soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company when Antony Tudor was Director of Ballet. Ms. Bennahum was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet on their first trip to Russia and danced in numerous modern dance companies in New York. She also danced in companies with Robert Joffrey, Agnes De Mille and The Santa Fe Opera Ballet with Thomas Andrew and John Butler that toured Europe under the musical direction of Igor Stravinsky. She has worked with many choreographers including Antony Tudor, Pearl Lang, Alexandra Danilova, Todd Bolender, John Taras and studied with many teachers including Margaret Craske and Martha Graham.
Ms. Chazin-Bennahum received her Doctorate in Romance Languages at the University of New Mexico (1981), and is the author of many articles as well as five books, Dance in the Shadow of the Guillotine, (Southern Illinois University Press 1988) a book on late eighteenth century French ballet, The Ballets of Antony Tudor (Oxford University Press 1994) which was awarded the De la Torre Bueno Prize in 1995 for the best book on dance and The Lure of Perfection: Fashion and Ballet 1780-1830 which was published by Routledge in the fall 2004. She edited, The Living Dance: An Anthology of Essays on Movement and Culture that was published by Kendall/Hunt in September 2003. And she compiled a series of essays directed for graduate students, Teaching Dance Studies, with Routledge that was published in 2005. She served as President of the Society of Dance History Scholars and several terms as the SDHS Chairperson of the Editorial Board of Studies in Dance History. Bennahum has choreographed for the Santa Fe Opera, The Opera Academy in Rome, the South West Ballet Company, The University of New Mexico Opera Studio and annually for the UNM Dance Ensemble. She received the Bravo Award for Lifetime Excellence in Dance in 2002 from the Albuquerque Arts Alliance. She travels widely giving lectures on many aspects of dance and dance related studies. In the 1990s she served four years as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and several years ago Bennahum completed a three-year term as Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico. Recently she was elected to the Board of Directors of the largest dance studies organization Congress on Research in Dance. She was appointed Distinguished Professor Emerita at UNM upon her retirement in 2006. In addition, A Friends of Dance scholarship is awarded in her name every year at the University of New Mexico.
Recently, though retired, she has taken on the co-presidency of the UNM Friends of Dance. In addition she was appointed to the Advisory Board of Dance Chronicle, the foremost journal of dance history. She continues to be active with Albuquerque’s Global Dance organization and often participates in conferences for the Society of Dance History Scholars. She created a panel on Ivor Guest at the SDHS June conference in Paris at the Centre National de Danse and on Antony Tudor for the SDHS Skidmore conference in 2008. Her sixth book, a biography René Blum and the Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life, was published in June 2011 by Oxford University Press.