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*William Louther was born on this date in 1942. He was a Black ballet and modern dancer, teacher, and choreographer.
He was born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at the High School of Performing Arts and at the Juilliard School with Tudor and Graham and danced in O'Donnell's company in 1958. He subsequently performed with the companies of Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, and McKayle as well as in Broadway musicals and on television. A superb technician, projecting a profound sincerity, he created roles in McKayle's District Storyville (1959), Graham's Circe (1964), and Archaic Hours (1969), and in the revised version of Ailey's Hermit Songs.
In 1966 he was a leading dancer in the revue Black New World, and in 1969 joined London Contemporary Dance Theatre, where he created roles in Cohan's Stages (1971), among others. He choreographed several works, including Vesalii Icones (mus. Peter Maxwell Davies, 1970). Between 1972 and 1974, he was director of the Batsheva Dance Company, and between 1975 and 1976 director of the Welsh Dance Theatre. He subsequently worked as a freelance choreographer and teacher for opera and theatre as well as for dance, although his activities were curtailed by poor health.
His final years were happier. He met a journalist, Sharon Atkin, when she interviewed him for the Caribbean Times, and they married in June 1996. The same year in Israel, as a wedding present for Sharon, he choreographed a duet called Obsession for himself and the Russian ballerina Galina Panova; before falling ill, he had been busy making another work with Panova. William Louther died in London on May 7, 1998.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation