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Billy Wilson
(April 21, 1935 - August 14, 1994) U.S.A.

Billy Wilson

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A native of Philadelphia, William Adolphus Wilson received his early dance training at the Sidney King School and attended Peirce Junior College and Temple University. At age 15, he won a scholarship to study classical ballet at the Philadelphia Guild Ballet School and Company. At 19, he made his New York debut in the City Center production of Carmen Jones.

He left America to perform in the London production of "West Side Story" and remained in Europe for 10 years. From 1961 to 1965, he danced with the Dutch National Ballet, where he starred in "Othello," a ballet created for him by Serge Lifar.

On his return to the United States, Mr. Wilson taught dance at Brandeis University, the National Center for Afro-American Arts in Boston and Harvard University, where he directed several Hasty Pudding shows. He also worked with his own company, Dance Theater of Boston, in the 1980's.

Billy WilsonBill was known as an experienced and dependable director who injected extra life and energy into his productions, adding small, telling details and encouraging performers to be more expressive than they believed they were.

He also choreographed dances, performed by major companies in New York, Philadelphia and the Netherlands, that ranged in theme and tone, from "Rosa," a simple, powerful dramatic piece about Rosa Parks, created for Philadanco, to the effervescent Gershwin "Concerto in F," which is in the repertories of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Dance Theater of Harlem.

He was nominated for three Tony Awards, and he directed and choreographed the all-black production of "Guys and Dolls" in 1976 and choreographed the Emmy Award-winning television show "Zoom." In the 1980's, he taught dance for five years as the head of the dance department at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh before returning to Europe, where he directed and choreographed musicals and staged ballets in the Netherlands.

He died of AIDS-related complications, at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. He was 59 and lived in Teaneck, N.J.. His companion of 18 years, Chip Garnett, died a few months before him.

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Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/ - http://www.dancerswelost.org/

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