Margret Dietz


Margret Dietz, a German-born dancer, teacher, and choreographer, was the director of the dance company Choreogram. She and the dance troupe offered summer workshops at the College of Saint Benedict. She was invited to speak at a college convocation. Shortly before her death, she asked to be buried in the cemetery of St. Benedict’s Monastery.

Margret Dietz was born June 3, 1913, in Berlin, Germany. She attended school there, and earned her Abitur in 1929. She then embarked on study of costume and stagecraft. She studied music history under Curt Sachs and philosophy under Paul Tillich. In 1932, Dietz joined the dance school of expressionist Mary Wigman in Dresden. After earning her diploma in 1935, Dietz stayed on as Wigman’s assistant and began teaching dance. She appeared in solo and group performances, choreographed original works, and directed a dance group.

From 1953 until her death in 1972, Margret Dietz taught dance in the United States, with the exception of a two-year return to Germany. Dietz was invited to fill in for a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor who had received a Fulbright award to teach overseas. The American professor, Margaret Erlanger, also prepared the way for Dietz to participate in the summer dance program at Connecticut College. The University of Illinois granted Dietz an honorary doctorate as the equivalent of her professional education in Germany. In 1955, Margret Dietz became an assistant professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara. In 1959, Dietz moved to Berlin, where she again assisted Mary Wigman. While in Germany, Margret Dietz also gave two solo dance concerts. In autumn 1961, she returned to the United States, where she had secured a position as assistant professor at DePauw University. In 1966, Dietz accepted a position as associate professor at the University of Minnesota. There she came in contact with Nancy Hauser’s Dance Guild. In 1969 Margret, Gabe (Terry) Stoner and Marie Winkler founded the dance company Choreogram with other members of the Guild, Linda Osborne and Judith Mirus, with Dietz as director.  In 1970, Margret resigned from the University of Minnesota and established her own dance studio. While preparing a group dance performance to be offered in the summer of 1972, she was weakened by a major heart attack. Margret Dietz died in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on June 24, 1972 and was buried in the cemetery for the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict on the College of Saint Benedict campus.