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Edward Villella
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Dancer
    (October 1, 1936- )
    Born in Bayside, New York
    Principal dancer of the New York City Ballet (1960-79)
    Artistic director of the Oklahoma City Ballet (1983-85) and Miami City Ballet (1986-2012)
    Produced and directed the PBS series ‘Dance in America’ (1977-78)
    Received the National Medal of the Arts (1997)
    He got his start in ballet by tagging along to his sister’s classes.
    His father, a truck driver, did not talk to him for a year after he became a professional dancer.
    His list of ballet-related injuries: ‘I have nine broken toes, stress fractures in both legs, I have a knee that can't be operated on again, two artificial hips, a bad back, and a bad neck.’
    He was forced out from the Miami City Ballet following a series of financial crises.
    He lettered in baseball and was a Golden Gloves championship boxer at the New York Maritime Academy.
    He was known for his powerful technique, particularly his soaring jumps.
    He was the first American dancer asked to perform an encore at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
    He danced at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.
    He won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Special for a presentation of the ballet ‘Harlequinade.’ (1975)
    New York magazine called him ‘America’s studliest ballet dancer.’

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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