Oakland, CA–October 20, 2017
The Mills dance community is mourning the loss of Mary Cochran, who died in New York on October 6, 2017. Cochran spent most of her career with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. She also taught at Mills College before moving to Barnard College, where she ran the dance program from 2003 to 2013. She was described by Dance Magazine as “a quintessential Taylor dancer, a complete individual, most completely herself when she is in motion."
Cochran began her professional dance career with Alwin Nikolais in 1981, and several years later joined the Taylor Company where she was a soloist from 1984 to 1996. After leaving the company she restaged 22 of Taylor’s masterworks. In 1998 and 1999, Cochran was the director of Taylor 2, where she created innovative outreach programs for dancers around the country. Before arriving at Barnard, Cochran taught at numerous colleges and conservatories including Mills College, Harvard, University of Michigan, and the North Carolina School of the Arts.
The New York Times noted that Cochran started taking dance classes with her mother when she was five years old. She began her professional dance career at the age of 18 and was known for her generosity toward young dancers just starting out. In a 2009 interview with Movement Research, Cochran commented, “My vision is really practical--which is ‘What can I do with what I have to support the field?’”