Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Daniel Levins, 62

Daniel Levins teaching at Ballet Tech
(photo: Jim Varriale)

My gratitude to Audrey Ross for sharing this sad news on the passing of the multifaceted dance artist Daniel Levins.

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DANIEL LEVINS (1953-2015)

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Daniel Levins of a lung infection on September 15, 2015 in New York City.   Raised in the Adirondack Mountain area of New York State, Daniel began Irish and tap dancing lessons at age five, and initiated his performing career with a touring carnival at age nine.   His dance studies continued in the Vaganova and Graham traditions at the High School of Performing Arts, and in the Cecchetti and Imperial Russian Ballet School traditions with Vincenzo Celli, Barbara Fallis, Vera Nemchinova, and Richard Thomas in NYC.

 In 1969, at age fifteen, Levins became a charter member of Eliot Feld's American Ballet Company for its debut at the Spoleto Festival in Italy.  He joined American Ballet Theatre in 1971, where his versatility actuated leading roles in works by Tudor, Balanchine, de Mille, Robbins, Fokine, Ailey, Neumier and others, as well as the classics.  Noted for his performances within the dramatic repertory, Mr. Levins rose to the rank of Principal Dancer at age eighteen.
Joining New York City Ballet in 1975, Levins danced under Balanchine and Robbins until a chronic knee condition forced his retirement from the ballet stage one year later.

 Mr. Levins also appeared in films, TV and stage productions, including Turning Point, Grease, Red Badge of Courage, Goodbye Girl, The Waltons, and Street Scene with New York City Opera.   He choreographed musical theater productions of Miss Liberty and Bloomer Girl for Goodspeed Opera House, Brimstone for Stockbridge Theater and the workshops of Hal Prince and Musical Theater Works, and directed and choreographed productions for the Smithsonian Institute, the King Cole Loves Broadway series at the St. Regis hotel as well as Off-Broadway productions of Oh Boy!, The Gorey Details and Amphigorey, which received an Obie nomination for best musical.
 His ballets have appeared in the repertories of American Ballet Theater, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Oklahoma, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Universal Ballet, Seoul Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, and Ballet's Galaxy of Stars.

 Mr. Levins began his teaching career in 1974 at Barbara Fallis and Richard Thomas' New York School of Ballet, and has taught and coached for ballet companies and schools, universities and colleges, as well as Broadway music theatre productions.  He was a longtime master teacher at Eliot Feld's Ballet Tech, which remarked that "he imbued generations of students with his passion for the rigor, technique, epaulement, elegance and continuity of classical ballet.  Yes, part of him goes on in those he trained."

--Audrey Ross

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