Saturday, September 6, 2014

Edward Villella - Dancer

Edward Villella, recognized as the foremost male ballet dancer produced in America, changed the way men danced in America, and the way male dancers were perceived.

Edward entered School of American Ballet at age 10, however he discontinued his dance training to finish his academic studies. He lettered in baseball, earned a college degree and was a championship boxer. 

He returned to the School of American Ballet, and was soon invited to become a member of New York City Ballet where he was promoted to Soloist, then Principal Dancer. 

Edward received nearly every significant honor bestowed upon artists in the United States. He was appointed by President Johnson to the Presidents National Council of the Arts. He was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. The Dance Heritage Coalition named him one of the first 100 of America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures and later, he was granted a fellowship to the Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds 11 honorary doctorate degrees.

Edward was the first American male dancer to perform with the Royal Danish Ballet, and the only American asked to dance an encore at Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. He danced for President Kennedy’s inauguration and for Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. He was Producer and Director for the PBS series, “Dance in America”, and won an Emmy Award for his CBS television production of, “Harlequinade.”

University of Pittsburgh Press has re-issued his autobiography, Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic, written with Larry Kaplan.
He resides in Manhattan, New York.

Photograph © 2014 Larry F. Levenson. All rights reserved.

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