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Gary DeLoatch
(1951 - April 2, 1992) U.S.A.

Gary DeLoatch

African American performer

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Gary DeLoatch, a leading dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, was born in Philadelphia and was an athlete and gymnast in high school. He received his early dance training from Faye Snow and from Joan Kerr at the Settlement School of Music in Philadelphia. In New York City, he studied at Dance Theater of Harlem. When he was 19, Gary performed with the George Faison Universal Dance Experience and with companies that included the Chamber Dance Group.

When the Ailey company took several of Mr. Faison's dances into its repertory, Gary came along as a rehearsal director. By 1979, a year after he joined the company as a dancer, Gary was attracting attention in many solo roles. Gary also appeared in the Broadway and film versions of "The Wiz." Though not a prolific choreographer, he began creating dances early in his career and choreographed pieces for companies that included the Ailey senior and junior troupes.

Gary DeLoatchGary had danced with the troupe since 1978 and performed in some of the company's most dramatic roles including Charlie Parker in Ailey's "For Bird: With Love," which the choreographer created for the dancer. He was the company's finest dramatic dancer. Tall, rangy and handsome, he could be sweetly innocent and slyly funny at the same time, but was even more compelling in searing dramatic roles, chief among them Charlie (Bird) Parker in Alvin Ailey's "For Bird: With Love," a part Mr. Ailey created for him.

He brought an almost casual conviction to parts that ranged from the prayerful, sensual monk in "Hermit Songs," a solo Mr. Ailey had created for himself, to a variety of elegant dudes, sympathetic acolytes and zany, uninhibitedly exuberant street-corner lotharios. But Mr. DeLoatch did not seem able to play a thorough villain. His drug dealer in "The Stack-Up," a dance by Talley Beatty, was as touchingly pitiable as he was snakelike. He was an adept children's teacher and led many Ailey outreach programs and performances. Gary also taught Ailey company classes.

"There is something very real in Mr. DeLoatch's stage presence," Anna Kisselgoff, the senior dance critic of The New York Times, wrote in 1988 in a review of "Tell It Like It Is," a solo created for the dancer by Kelvin Rotardier in a program presented by the Ailey company to celebrate Gary's 10th year with the troupe. "We believe in the characters he creates, in the drama he evokes with gestures he draws out of street life, in the contemporary flavor of his impressive dance technique. His physique projects power and yet the final image with which he often leaves us is that of vulnerability."

Gary DeLoatch died at Lenox Hill Hospital. He was 40 and lived in Manhattan. He had a long illness. He is survived by his companion, Stephen Smith of New York.

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Source: http://variety.com/ & http://www.nytimes.com/

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