My Mentor: Meriam Rosen

I learned this morning that my mentor for the past thirty-something years passed away on Thursday. I woke up that morning dreaming about her, and I planned to call her, schedule a time to visit, make sure she knew I was thinking of her. I had no idea how close to the end she was. Before I had the chance, she passed.

Mim was the single person on this planet who changed my life, and changed me, more than any other. I know she had this effect on many of her students. She was the mother hen of our improvisational dance company. She selected her company members carefully because she was creating a family. And she nurtured us as if we were her own children. We all respected and admired her for her strength of character. Mim spoke her mind without regard for the toes she stepped on; if you asked her opinion on any subject, you could be assured you would receive the unvarnished, and often painful, truth.

Mim was honest not just with her words, but with her choreography. She inspired her students to dig deeper, to reveal more of themselves through movement, and to avoid anything trite, anything that smacked of cliche. Through her tutelage, we all became more powerful dancers, not physically but emotionally. We became more available, more open, more human. I, personally, found my confidence and my voice thanks to Mim.

Mim was brilliant in every meaning of the word. She was easily one of the brightest people I've ever met. She also shone like a beacon of truth in the often dark and twisted world of modern dance. She saw the inner beauty and the value in her students, not just the superficial beauty of the body. And she taught us to celebrate that inner light, to bring it forth in our dancing. She was the epitome of a positive role model.

Many years ago, I wrote Mim a long letter thanking her for all she had done for me. I wanted to make sure she knew how much I appreciated her confidence in me, and what a huge difference it had made in my life. In the past couple of years, I made sure to visit her every few months. I often brought my daughters along and they played their violins for her. The last time I saw her, an old friend was visiting from California and we brought Mim lunch. She enjoyed the chicken salad with such gusto, it made us laugh.

I can only hope I brought a tiny amount of joy to her, after all she gave to me.


  1. A beautiful tribute to your teacher. As a teacher, I love when my students post thank yous or write me letters of thanks for making a difference in their lives.

  2. Thank you, Liz for your heartfelt post about the wonderful, incorrigible, irascible, committed, thorough and ultimately LOVING PRESENCE that was/IS MIM for so many of us. She became my teacher in the Spring of 1974 and without my knowledge or expectation became the dearest of friends and my greatest of champions. THE MIM IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE MIM!

  3. I was writing a story about my favorite teacher and I thought I would look up to see if I could find a picture of Mim, but instead I came across this beautiful article. Mim welcome me to the University of Maryland in 1980 and got me to open up and join her dance group. When ever I think of College I think of Mim and I know she is in Heaven teaching Improvisation..... THANK YOU MIM!.....


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