(August 16, 1940 - August 28, 1994)
Dancer, choreographer, teacher
Walter Raines was born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and trained in dance at the Pittsburgh Playhouse School of Theater and Dance and the New York City Ballet-affiliated School of American Ballet. He was also a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University. In addition to his career with the Harlem company, where he danced from 1968 to 1978, Walter performed with the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany and the Pennsylvania Ballet.
He was a classical ballet dancer of an elegance so unyielding that he could stand on his hands for two minutes, or so it seemed in Arthur Mitchell's "Biosfera," without losing his distinguished look. But Walter also choreographed, taught ballet at several universities as well as at Dance Theater of Harlem, staged rock acts and Off Broadway plays and was even responsible for the art direction and costumes for the film "The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy" (1980). 'A Man of the Theater'
He was an associate professor at City College of New York from 1978 to 1989 and headed several programs at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in the 1980's. He was also a guest teacher in Germany at the Tanz-Forum der Oper der Stadt Koln, at the Vienna Opera Ballet and at Den Norske Ballet of Oslo.
Walter created ballets for companies including Dance Theater of Harlem and the Capitol Ballet of Washington. He was the first black choreographer to work at the Royal Opera in London, creating the dance and musical staging for Michael Tippett's "Ice Break" in 1977.
Walter Raines was a charter member of the Dance Theater of Harlem and artistic director of its school. He died at his home in Manhattan. He was 54. The cause was AIDS-related complications.