Deborah Jowitt began to dance professionally in 1953, to show her own choreography in 1962, and to write a regular dance column for The Village Voice in 1967. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, she appeared in works by Mary Anthony, Valerie Bettis, Harriette Ann Gray, Doris Humphrey, Pauline Koner, Pearl Lang, José Limón, Sophie Maslow, Anna Sokolow, Helen Tamiris, and others. In the 1960s, she became affiliated with the then-collaborative group, Dance Theater Workshop, presenting her choreography and dancing in works by colleagues such as Jeff Duncan and Art Bauman. In the 1990s, she performed in concerts by Phyllis Lamhut, Victoria Marks, and Marta Renzi, and created an autobiographical solo, Body (in) Print, that she has since shown in many venues both in the United States and overseas.
Her articles on dance have appeared in numerous publications, among them The New York Times, Dance Magazine, Ballet Review, and Dance Research Journal, as well as in catalogues and anthologies. She has published two collections: Dance Beat (1977) and The Dance in Mind (1985). A third book, Time and the Dancing Image (William Morrow; paperback, University of California Press), won the de la Torre Bueno Prize for 1988. She also edited and wrote the introduction for Meredith Monk (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997) and the introductions for the revised and expanded edition of Jill Johnston's Marmalade Me and José Limón's An Unfinished Memoir (both from Wesleyan University Press). She has contributed essays to Reinventing Dance in the 1960s (ed. Sally Banes) and Of Another World: Dancing Between Dream and Reality (ed. Monna Dithmer). Her most recent book, Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance, was published by Simon and Schuster in August, 2004.
Keynote speeches include “Writing through the Body” (annual conference, Congress of Research in Dance, Ohio State University (1998); “Beyond Description: Writing Beneath the Surface” (Korean International Dance Event, Seoul, 1996); “Form as an Image of Human Perfectability and Natural Order” (Doris Humphrey Centennial Celebration, Congress on Research in Dance conference, Columbia Teachers College, New York, 1995); keynote address, Green Mill Dance Project (Melbourne, 1994); “The Uses of Memory: The Influence of Noh on the Work of Jerome Robbins and Martha Graham” (Taipei, 2004).
She has lectured, taught, and/or conducted workshops at institutions both in the United States and abroad -- among them Princeton, Barnard, the University of Copenhagen, York University in Toronto, and the University of Utah -- and has been teaching in the Dance Department of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts since 1975. A founding member of the Dance Critics Association, she served at various times as its treasurer, newsletter editor, and co-chairman. From 1969 to 1972, she was a member of the Dance Advisory Panel to the National Council on the Arts, and its co-chair in 1972-72.
Dance Theater Workshop awarded her a "Bessie" in 1985 for her contributions to dance criticism, and the American Dance Guild honored her in 1991. In 1998, she received an "Ernie" -- an award reserved for dance's "unsung heroes" -- from Dance/USA. The Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) made her its 2001 honoree for her “Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research.” She was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002.