originator of the
Six Viewpoints

What can you say about a person
who at an early age discovered
that she would be content to spend
90 percent of her life in a closet thinking,
yet who thought nothing of hopping
a freight train to Berkeley, California at the
age of 17 with only $50 dollars in
her pocket, to pursue dancing? 


Mary Overlie is an observer/participant, a deconstructing postmodern theatre practitioner, an original anarchist. She is a woman who is not afraid of obscurity, or worried that being unknown might obscure her ideas. She prefers to remain out of the limelight in order to create. She has a deep trust and confidence in a piercing mind. At a young age she displayed an intense physical and intellectual confidence.The Theory and Practice of The Six Viewpoints were borne out that confidence with a quiet yet infectious impact.

“Observe the ingredients, the materials of performance, contemplate the particles. 
Once you find them, train yourself to listen, allow them to become your teachers,
embrace them as profound partners. Allow them to create.”

Any theater artist standing in Overlie’s classroom is immediately drawn to her clarity: able to absorb, comprehend and take her teachings to heart. Throughout her many years of teaching, she has managed to articulate a very basic and functional view and practice of postmodern art. Her views on performance are clear and resilient as the views and grass on the high prairie.

Overlie was born January 15, 1946 in Terry, Montana; conceived Movement Research, a cooperative dance organization of international renown; founded Danspace Project with Barbara Dilley, a dance presenting organization in New York City; first teacher hired to establish the Experimental Theatre Wing at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; a choreographer and performer with an international reputation in the field of experimental dance, for many years teaching and performing as a part of theInternational Tanz Wochen working with Ismael Ivo and Karl Regensburger in Vienna. Recently retired after 39 years teaching in the Undergraduate Drama Department at NYU she now resides in Bozeman, Montana.

The Six Viewpoints is her child and it has done a unique thing in the world of theater and performance philosophy; it has come with a quiet and infectious ability to represent itself without her. She joins those who have worked to elevate theater. Her leveling of the creative hierarchy by focusing on the materials has conceptually and practically infected the performance worlds of both theater and dance.


director, arts institutes

Pro Series Workshops, Internationale Tanz Wochen Wien

Experimental Theater Wing, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. A theater school which began developing an education for performers and directors in the movement, acting, and voice reflecting the evolution of postmodern arts philosophy which began in the sixties with companies like Polish Theater Lab, Growtowsly, Foreman, Wooster Group.

Experimental Theater Wing , NYU. Paris ETW was developed as a one year option for ETW students. The location made it possible for ETW to have access to European theater tech in the context of American avant garde theater studies.

1991 - 1997;  Vienna 

1989 - 1991;  New York



1985 - 1987;  Paris



Six Viewpoints International Institute Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana

Pro Series Internationale Tanz Wochen Wien Vienna, Austria (co-founders Suzanne Linke, Karin Saporta, Ismale Ivo)

Movement Research New York City (co-founders Cynthia Hedstrom, Wendell Beavers Danny Lepkoff, Christian Svane, Richard Kerry)

Danspace St. Mark's Church, New York City (co-founder Barbara Dilly)






Six Viewpoints Developed a conceptual articulation for postmodern performance and a teaching system that is applicable to directing, choreographing, dancing, acting, improvisation, and analysis. The Six Viewpoints has been adopted as a basis for the core curriculum at ETW at NYU. In January, 1998, there was a national conference on the Viewpoints held in New York, sponsored by NYU, Pace University and Stage Directors and Choreographer Foundation. The theory of this work was finally completed in 2003.

Postmodern Dance School A cross-technical design for a four year dance education and two year teacher training program commissioned by the International Tanz Wochen Wien and the Austrian Government. Never implemented.

1978 - 2004





Faculty; Experimental Theater Wing, Tisch School of the Arts, Undergraduate Drama, NYU, New York *

Guest Faculty; European Dance Development Center, Arnhem, Netherlands *

Faculty; Internationale Tanz Wochen Wien, Vienna, Austria *

Guest Faculty; School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam, Netherlands *

Dansens Hus Danish Professional Dance Center, Copenhagen, Denmark *

Guest Faculty; Hogh School for Art Classical Dance Accadame, Arnhem, Netherlands *

1978 - 2015

1988 - 2002

1988 - 1999

1986 - 1987

1988 - 1997

1992 - 1997

* Postmodern Technique: a combination of Hamilton Floor Barre, Cunningham exercises, ballet, Contact Improvisation and Body Mind Centering information; Six Viewpoints Improvisation , Composition and Analysis

grants & awards

Bessie Achievement Award, for life time contribution to dance

Arnhem City Council Grant, "On Site Arnhem"

Danish Cultural Ministry, "Project Grant"

NEA/Dance, choreographic fellowship grant

Bessie Achievement Award, for creation of the Studies Project of Movement Research

Caps Grant







Choreographic Commissions

Experimental Theater Wing; New York University, New York City

European Dance Development Center; Arnhem, Netherlands

Montana Ballet; Bozeman, Montana

The Kitchen Center for Video, Music and Dance; New York City

Danspace at St. Mark's Church; New York City

Dance Theater Workshop; New York City

The Bunch Theater Festival; New York City


1996, '95, '94, '92


1990, '88, '79, '78

1984, '76




Dance Video Workshop with Merce Cunningham

Technique and Composition workshop with Suzanne Linke

Private ballet classes and floor barre with Jean Hamilton

Body Mind Centering with Beth Goren

Ballet and alignment with Francis Cott

Contact Improvisation with Steve Paxton

Barbara Dilley, Yvonne Rainer

Martha Graham Technique with David Wood and two workshops with Martha Graham

Cunningham Technique with Margret Jenkins

Jose Limon technique with Anne Swearingen and Betty Jones

Ballet and improvisation with Harvey Jung, in Montana (a former New York City Opera Ballet Company Member).

Graduated high school in 1964 from Bozeman High School in Bozeman Montana.





1973 - 1979

1972 - 1975

1968 - 1972

1966 - 1968

1965 - 1970

1964 - 1966

1955 - 1964

dance companies

Freelance Choreographer, Denmark, Holland, Austria

Mary Overlie Dance Company, New York City

Judy Padow Dance Company, New York City

Natural History of the American Dancer, New York City

Anne Swearingen Dance Company, San Francisco

Teresa Dickensen Dance Company, San Francisco

San Francisco Mime Troupe, San Francisco

Jan Lapiner Dance Company, Berkeley

1985 - 1998

1978 - 1985

1975 - 1978

1970 - 1975



1968 - 1969

1966 - 1969


NYU/Tisch Theater, New York - "We Have Nothing To Say and We Are Saying It"

Danspace at St. Mark's Church, New York - "Location Of Love"

Burgh Theater, Vienna - "Location of Love"

Concert Hall, Arnhem - "Remake of History"

EDDC, Arhenm and a tour of Germany - "Dances For Prepared Bodies"

Eden's Express Way, New York - "No Angels No Apes", "Glassed Imaginations"

EDDC, Arnhem - "Country"

The Kitchen, New York - "Flight of Desire"

International Tanz Wochen Wien - "Small Dance II"

The Kitchen Center, New York - "Blind Bird Box Dance", "The Muses"

Outdoor Montana - "Prairie Dance"

Outdoor Paris - improvisation ensemble

Experimental Theater Wing, Paris - "The Restaurant"

Espace Kiron, Paris - Solo Repertory, "Skies over America"

Danspace, St. Mark's Church, New York - "Small Dance", "Richard Serra Dance", "Tap Dance"

American Center, Paris - Repertory

The Kitchen Center, New York - "Hero II", "History", "Wallpaper II"

Dance Theater Workshop, New York - "Adam and Eve"

Vehicle Gallery, Montreal - "Swan Literary Duet"

New York University, New York - "Wallpaper", "Paper Waltz"

Museum of Modern Art, New York - "The Figure II"

The Kitchen Center, New York - "Hero"

Museum of Modern Art, New York - "The Figure"

The Kitchen Center, New York - Painters Dream"

Bunch Festival, Intermedia Theater, New York - "Possibility of Personal Failure", "Flower Garden"

Robert Freidus Gallery, New York - "Cartoon Coordinations"

Holly Solomon Gallery, New York - "Window Pieces", "Glassed Imaginations II", "Glassed Imaginations"

St. Mark's Church, New York - "Adam", "To Be Announced", "Wash", "Small Dance"

Fire House Theater, San Francisco - "Free Delivery"

Berkley Art Museum, Berkeley - "Free Delivery"

Portland State College, Portland - "Free Delivery"
































collaboration / dance

Wendell Beavers, Paul Langland; Danspace, St. Mark's Church, New York Judson Church, Columbia University, Simon Forti Studio, Francis Alenikoff Studio

Cathy Weiss; European Dance Development Center, Arnhem - Video Dance Project

Wendell Beavers, Paul Langland; Eden's Expressway, New York - Improvisation

Paul Langland; Performance Festival School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam - "Coffee"Paul Langland; Performance Festival School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam - "Coffee"

Wendell Beavers, Paul Langland; Performance Festival School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam - Improvisation

Contact community; St. Mark's Church, New York - Contact Concert

Daniel Lepkoff, Christine Svane, members of the Contact community; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York - Improvisation, Contact Concert, "Where", "With Whom"

The Natural History; St. Mark's Church, New York - Improvisation

Rachel Lew, Cynthia Hedstrom; Artists House, New York - "Falling"

The Natural History; Artists House, New York - Improvisation

The Natural History; Emma Willard School, New York - Improvisation

The Natural History; Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Improvisation

The Natural History; Dance Circle, Boston - Improvisation

Jani Novak; The Fire House, San Francisco - "Mabeline"

The Natural History; The Whitney Museum, New York - Improvisation

The Natural History; Bennington College, Bennington - Improvisation

The Natural History; Kirkland Art Centre, New York - Improvisation

Lincoln Scott; PLACE, New York - "Raft"

Grand Union Performance; 122, Green St. Gallery, New York

Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith; Castellie Gallerie, New York - First Contact Concert

1993 - 2000




















collaboration / theatre

Lee Breur, Mass Moka; Massachusetts - "Red Beads"

Anne Bogart; New York University, New York - "South Pacific": Bessie Award

Lawrence Sacrow; Lama, New York - "Madness of the Day" *

Anne Bogart; on location in New York City - "Artouist"

Joanne Akilitis; Public Theater, New York - "Dead End Kids" *

Lee Breur, David Warrilow; Public Theater, New York - "The Lost Ones"

Joanne Akilitis; Public Theater, New York - "Dressed Like An Egg" *

Joanne Akilitis; Public Theater, New York - "Cascando"

Lee Breuer, Mabou Mines; Connecticut College, New London - "Saint and the Football Players" *

1999 - 2000 









*These productions were awarded Obies