A Tribute to Carol Warner (1935-2018)

May 28, 2018

She did rhythm tap as a kid because she found it fun to make her feet talk. She turned back-flips imitating a photograph she saw on the wall at her dancing school. She donned pointe shoes to assist choreographers lecture-demonstrating their classical hows and whys. She danced on television for Andy Williams, did movies for Herbert Ross, Broadway for Michael Kidd.

She was Barbra Streisand’s personally chosen stunt double for her battle royal falling down Funny Girl roller rink skating scene. She was the referenced human dancing body model for the creation, building and expansion of a major choreographer’s dance technique. She was a dancer who believed that to dance was to live. She was the dancer chosen by Martha Graham to demonstrate her work after dancing in only one Graham-taught dance class. She was the teacher French dancers wanted to hold captive in their country for more of the gift she gave them. She was the mentor and teacher whose students “got it.” She was the artist who created dances that made viewers want to dance. She was that rare mover who exuded a physical life energy that suggested being alive: bounding, jumping and running freely through space, even as she was simply standing still. A woman whose highly kinetic dance technique facilitated an expressivity that emanated from realms unknown, and spoke to all. She was one of a dedicated triumvirate of over-forty dance artists who danced together in consort for the purpose to further dance as an art form. She was a dancer who made music dance.

Partnering Carol was like opening a package at Christmas not knowing what was inside until opened—then, Shazam! A soulful, trust-filled, risk-takingly in synch, new each time improvisation bordering on magic—somewhere beyond reality—ensued. She was what the Gods had in mind when they invented Terpsichore. She is written across my brain, living in my spine and continues to inhabit my heart.

Carol Warner was a dancer who lived and danced from the heart by, with and for love. She has gone away from us now. She is out in deep space dancing with a new dance partner in a continuance without-end dance, dancing new dances and all the other dances ever danced on this terrestrial surface by everyone who has ever danced since time began.