Celebrating Michael Koob: December 3, 1961 – December 31, 2011

SFArtsED’s master dance teacher.

Michael Koob was born in Darby, PA. His early dance training was in Irish Dance.

He later trained in Wigman technique under Hellmut Gottschild at Temple University in Philadelphia. After college, he toured the Eastern United States and Europe with Mr. Gottschild’s ZeroMoving Dance Company.

Dancing in San Francisco

Michael moved to San Francisco in the mid ‘80s and choreographed and performed with Six Thumbs Dance Theater. In the ‘90s, in addition to performing in his own work, he performed for Rebecca Salzer Dance Theater and appeared in Ms. Salzer’s film Office Furniture. In 1995 he founded and was the Artistic Director of TRANSIT Dance Company. The company performed in a variety of venues and often featured multi-generational performers. Koob’s choreography was rooted in the Wigman Expressionist technique that he often crossed with a post-punk sensibility in both dramatic and darkly comic works. He loved the band X and revered its lead singer Exene Cervenka whose artistic sensibility inspired his own.

Master Teacher

Michael Koob taught thousands of young children to love and appreciate dance. He was an artist-in-residence with SFArtsED for twenty years teaching at schools that included Alvarado, Argonne, Glen Park, Miraloma, Presidio Hill, Sunset, Rooftop and Schools of the Sacred Heart. He was also a long-time faculty member of ODC/SF and the Brisbane Dance Workshop. Koob was a charismatic and towering presence in the myriad studios, gymnasiums, school cafeterias and play yards that he taught in. He was known for leading the Alvarado Elementary School in a morning ritual “mirror dance” from the roof of the school, a feat that he accomplished by climbing through the window of the principal’s office. He resisted formality with his students asking that they call him Michael. In the dance community his dancers and colleagues knew him simply as Koob.

Koob also taught at the Chinese American International School, Deborah King Nursery School and French American International School. For many years he also was an instructor in the Recreation and Parks Department’s afterschool programs.


2002: The Mayor’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families honors Michael as a “Teacher of the Year” during the Celebration of the Young Child Week.

2011: Mayor Ed Lee declares September 18th, 2011 as Michael Koob Day. Miraloma Elementary School renames their auditorium the Koob Auditorium marking the entrance with a ceramic tile created by Miraloma students under the guidance of public works and SFArtsED artist Aileen Barr.

Tribute …. best dance teacher eva
Jimmy Duong, SFUSD student

M. Koob Scholarship Fund

SFArtsED has established a scholarship fund in Michael Koob’s memory. To donate to the fund send a check to:

SFArtsED c/o Nourse Auditorium
135 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102