Lili Cockerille Livingston, One of America’s First Claras, Dies at 72

March 30, 2017

Lili Cockerille Livingston danced with the Harkness Ballet from 1964 to 69 and then with the Joffrey Ballet until 1972, when she left to perform in the Broadway show Via Gallactica. As a child, Livingston had been one of the first Claras in the U.S. Nutcracker, as staged by Freddie Franklin and Alexandra Fedorova.

Anna Kisselgoff’s New York Times review of the Joffrey Ballet in 1970 wrote:

“Miss Cockerille, stepping into the role of the heroine in Todd Bolender’s ‘The Still Point’ triumphed totally in the dramatic intensity she brought to what could have been a merely sketched‐out characterization…. Fine in her dancing, Miss Cockerille was even more impressive in that special air of fragility and shattered sensibility that she sustained throughout her performance.”

After moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lili became Dance Critic for the Tulsa Tribune and freelance contributor to Dance Magazine.

In 1997, University of Oklahoma published her book “American Indian Ballerinas,” a biography of Maria Tallchief, Marjorie Tallchief, Rosella Hightower and Yvonne Chouteau.

Marcelo Angelini, artistic director of Tulsa Ballet called her a “true dance reviewer, who gave constructive criticism, who wrote for the love of dance and not to boost their ego.”Tulsa Ballet’s managing director Scott Black announced before the curtain last Friday that the performance was dedicated to Livingston.