Garth Fagan

Born in Jamaica, West Indies in 1940, Garth Fagan is renowned for his unique signature movement style and vocabulary, combining elements of modern dance and ballet with African and Caribbean rhythms and postures. At age 20 Fagan came to the United States where he directed the All-City Dance Company and danced with the Dance Theater of Detroit and the Detroit contemporary Dance Company. He studied with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Mary Hinkson, and Alvin Ailey before accepting a professorship at the State University of New York at Brockport in 1969. In 1970 in Rochester, New York, Fagan started his own dance company, which eventually became known as Garth Fagan Dance. Fagan's singular dance language draws on many sources: he likes the sense of weight in modern dance, the speed and precision of ballet, the torso-centered movement and energy of Afro-Caribbean tradition and the rule-breaking experimentation of the post-moderns. Popular works in the repertory include an early men's trio, Oatka Trail, named for a wilderness park between Rochester and Buffalo, and Prelude. Both works illustrate key Fagan elements of balance and discipline. Fagan's work has included collaborations with jazz pianist Don Pullen and jazz composer and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Fagan worked with Marsalis and sculptor Martin Puryear for his 1991 Griot New York. Chosen to choreograph Walt Disney Theatrical Productions' new musical The Lion King, which opened on Broadway in the fall 1997, Fagan won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Choreography for his innovative work. In addition, he received the 1998 Drama Desk Award, 1998 Outer Critics Circle Award, 1998 Astaire Award, 2000 Sir Laurence Oliver Award, and 2001 Ovation Award. February, 2004