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George Faison
(December 21, 1945 - living) U.S.A.

George Faison

Dancer, choreographer, theater director, and educator

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Born in Washington, D.C., George studied dance with the Jones-Haywood Capitol Ballet and Carolyn Tate of Howard University while attending Dunbar High School. He entered Howard to study dentistry in 1964, but left in 1966, after a performance by the Alvin Ailey company inspired him to pursue a career in dance.

George moved to New York City and became an immediate success in the dance world. That same year, he was chosen as Lauren Bacall's dance partner in a television special. He joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1967 as a dancer and remained there through 1969. He left Ailey to begin his own group, George Faison Universal Dance Experience, in 1971. He served as dancer and choreographer, creating original work for the company. George also created pieces with a historical and political bent, among them works inspired by the memory of Malcolm X. Poppy (1971) dealt with the problem of drug addiction.

He made his choreographic debut on Broadway with Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope in 1972. In 1974, he choreographed The Wiz, the successful all-black musical retelling of The Wizard of Oz. George won a Tony Award for his choreography, the first for an African American in that category. By the mid-1970s the George Faison Universal Dance Experience had disbanded, and George was choreographing music concerts for such artists as Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gladys Knight and the Pips in addition to his work in musical theater.

George also has worked in television, and in 1989 he conceived and produced the television special Cosby Salutes Ailey for the 30th anniversary of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He was the first African-American choreographer to win a Tony Award for his work on The Wiz, which also won him a Drama Desk Award. He was nominated for another Tony for Porgy and Bess, at Radio City Music Hall. He won an Emmy Award for his choreography of the HBO special The Josephine Baker Story (1991).

George recently founded the not-for-profit American Performing Arts Collaborative (APAC) to develop and present theatrical, educational, and entertainment events.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and http://www.umass.edu/

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