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. Her articles on dance have appeared in numerous journals, as well as in anthologies and exhibition catalogues. 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) as well as the introductions for the revised edition of Jill Johnston's Marmalade Me and for José Limón's An Unfinished Memoir (both from Wesleyan University Press). Her critical/historical writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Reinventing Dance in the 1960s, (Sally Banes, ed.) and Moving History/Dancing Cultures (Ann Dils and Ann Cooper Albright, eds.). Simon and Schuster published her most recent book, Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance, in 2004.
She has lectured, taught, and/or conducted workshops at institutions and conferences in the United States and abroad and has been on the faculty of the Dance Department of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts since 1975— in the past two decades as a Master Teacher. A founding member of the Dance Critics Association, she served at various times as its treasurer, newsletter editor, and co-chairman.
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. In 2001, she was The Congress on Research in Dance’s honoree for her “Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research.” She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002.