In Memoriam
Screenshot via YouTube

Originally from Paris, Liliane Montevecchi danced for Roland Petit as a young ballet dancer. In the 1950's she signed with MGM studios. Her credits with them include Daddy Long Legs and King Creole (starring Elvis Presley.) In 1958 she performed in the Broadway musical revue La Plume de Ma Tante. She went on to star in the famous Les Folies Bergeres. She was spectacular in the show with her gorgeous body, Italian passion and French glamour.

Liliane was also an elegant, classy and dynamic actress. She looked like a cover girl, and possessed the lean, long physique of a ballerina her entire life. She was on a carefully planned schedule with her eating, always aware that she had to fit into those revealing costumes. When it came to wearing the designers' pieces, she was in a class of her own. Her mother designed for French royalty, and it showed. Liliane recalls in an interview that she never saw her mother look bad. She was raised to be conscious of the image she presented to the public, and it paid off in her extensive career.

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In Memoriam
Gillian Lynne (center) at a curtain call for Phantom of the Opera alongside producer Cameron Mackintosh and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Photo courtesy DKC/O&M

This morning, we woke to hear the sad news that British choreographer Gillian Lynne passed away last night at age 92. The original choreographer of Cats and Phantom of the Opera, Lynne worked on more than 60 shows on Broadway and the West End in her lifetime, and will be dearly missed by the dance world.

As news of her passing hit, dance and theater stars flooded the internet with tributes.

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In Memoriam

Jeanette Tannan Hoffman was born in 1930 in Brooklyn. She began her dance training at age 4. At age 12, she had to choose between piano and ballet. At 16, she landed a part on Broadway in Sweethearts. Soon after, as the only dancer accepted by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1946, she went on to tour with that company for five years. She then danced at Radio City Music Hall and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and choreographed at Radio City. Dance was always one of her greatest loves: Indeed, her spark, spirit and musicality received numerous rave reviews.

In 1954, she married Edward S. Hoffman, and started a family. A devoted mother and wife, she was a beloved ballet teacher at the Irine Fokine School in Ridgewood, NJ for over 40 years. She then taught for 8 years at In the Spotlight Studio in Waldwick, NJ until age 87. She had a tremendous impact. Her commitment to superior teaching was extraordinary; many of her students went on to dance professionally. She also taught at Alvin Ailey Extension in Manhattan.

Hoffman is survived by daughter Madelyn, of Flanders, NJ, and son Steven, of Bow, WA, as well two grandsons, Galen and Forrest Hoffman, of Bow, WA.

A celebration of life will be held June 24th, 1-4pm, at In the Spotlight Studio in Waldwick. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Jeanette Tannan Hoffman Dance Scholarship Fund, c/o M. Hoffman, P.O. Box 485, Flanders, NJ 07836. Online condolences and full obituary are at www.forevermissed.com/jeanette-tannan-hoffman.

In Memoriam
PC Tom Kramer

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.

In Memoriam

Mary Jane Wolbers, 95, of Temple, New Hampshire, passed away at her home on Saturday, April 14, 2018. She was born September 15, 1922, in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of John Donald Marr, Sr. and Marian Lee (Hodkin) Marr.

She is survived by her sons, Charles Paul Wolbers, Jr. and his wife, Donna Hoffman, of South Wayne, Wisconsin, and George Ernest Wolbers and his wife, Ellen Estes, of Matthews, North Carolina; her daughters, Marian Frances Wolbers and her husband, Bruce Dengler, of Reading, Pennsylvania, and Vivian Rose Wills and her husband, Robert, of Temple, NH; her nieces, Debbie Lou and Margaret Ann; her nephews, Don and John Charles; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Mary Jane was predeceased by her husband, Charles Paul Wolbers, Sr.; sister Ruth Elizabeth Marr; and her brother, John D. (Jack) Marr, Jr.

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In Memoriam

Gina Bugatti Goetchius died on April 27th, 2018, at her home in Mount Vernon, New York. She was born on February 14, 1951, to George Goetchius and Mildred Goetchius. Gina had an iconic, global dance career which spanned nearly five decades. She began her ballet training as a child, and later enrolled in The National Academy of Ballet as a scholarship student under the direction of Thalia Mara. After graduating, she was a trainee at Harkness House, and was promoted to become a member of the Harkness Ballet Company, where she worked with choreographers such as Vicente Nebrada, Geoffrey Holder, Brian Macdonald, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington and Norman Walker. She then briefly became a member of The Joffrey II, directed by Jonathan Watts.

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In Memoriam
Donald McKayle performing with Mary Hinkson in 1961. Photo by Van Lund, via DM Archives

Donald McKayle was a legend in dance, with a long list of accolades, awards and accomplishments well-documented after his recent passing. But those of us who were lucky enough to be his students, either in a classroom or rehearsal studio, know he displayed his greatest talent in his role of master teacher.

A dance teacher like no other, he could draw creative expression and physical determination out of his students they didn't know they had access to. He saw it inside them, and he drew it out with grace, command and clarity, as if it were something he simply expected. His approach was never demeaning or condescending; he knew you could do it, only you hadn't tried it yet.

He used to say to the young dancers in his undergraduate performing group, the UCI Etude Ensemble, while rehearsing a particularly challenging section: "I know…Now, do it again and jump higher," all the while smiling and singing to them.

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In Memoriam
Sam Miller. Photo via Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Sam Miller, former director of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council from 2010-2016, passed away this week. Miller was beloved in the dance community and was known as a visionary arts administrator for dance.

Miller also served as managing director of Pilobolus and founded and directed Wesleyan University's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. In 2013, Movement Research honored Miller at their gala. Watch the tribute below:

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