Edward Villella

Edward Villella (born October 1, 1936 in Bayside, New York) is an American danseur and choreographer. He is frequently cited as America's most celebrated male dancer of ballet at the time.[1][2] Villella was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2007.[3]

Edward Villella
Edward Villela 1997
Villella in 1997
BornOctober 1, 1936 (age 82)
Bayside, New York
OccupationDanseur, Choreographer


Villella enrolled in the School of American Ballet at age ten, and then the High School of Performing Arts,[4] but then interrupted his studies to complete his college education. He attended the New York Maritime Academy, where he lettered in baseball and was a championship boxer. He graduated with a marine science degree in 1957, and rejoined the School of American Ballet.


Villella became a member of the New York City Ballet in 1957, rising to soloist in 1958 and principal dancer in 1960. Among his most noteworthy[5] performances were Oberon in George Balanchine's ballet A Midsummer Night's Dream (with music by Felix Mendelssohn), Tarantella, Rubies in the Balanchine ballet Jewels, and Prodigal Son.

Villella was the first American male dancer to appear with the Royal Danish Ballet, and the only American ever asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He danced at the inaugural for President John F. Kennedy, and performed for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. He won an Emmy Award in 1975 for his CBS television production of Harlequinade. He danced in two television versions of The Nutcracker (in different roles), in a ballet film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and in a 1966 TV production of Brigadoon, in which he played the tragic suitor Harry Beaton. During the 1960s he and his dancing partner Patricia McBride, who starred together in a 1965 television version of The Nutcracker, appeared often on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1973, Villella appeared as himself in an episode of The Odd Couple titled "Last Tango in Newark" during which he said (much to Felix's dismay) that he always wanted to be a professional football player and that he took up ballet to meet girls; his son, Roddy, also appeared.[6] In 1983, Villella guest-starred on the soap opera Guiding Light.


Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford and Edward Vilella Dancing, Following the Departure of Prime Minister and Mrs.... - NARA - 186805
First Lady Betty Ford and Edward Villella dancing at the White House May 8, 1975

After retirement as a performer, Villella was the artistic coordinator of the Eglevsky Ballet from 1979—84 and the director of Ballet Oklahoma (now Oklahoma City Ballet) from 1983—85. He has also been artistic advisor to New Jersey Ballet since 1972 and currently is a special artist at New Jersey School of Ballet.[7] He was named founding artistic director of Miami City Ballet in 1985[8] and served in that role until 2012.[9]


In 1997, Villella was named a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. He was also named the Dorothy F. Schmidt artist-in-residence at Florida Atlantic University in 2000.[10] He was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in 2009.

Personal life

Villella and his wife Linda Carbonetto, a former Olympic figure skater, have two daughters named Lauren and Crista. Villella also has a son, Roddy; his mother is Villella's first wife, former New York City Ballet dancer Janet Greschler.


  1. ^ Dancing for Mr. B, and Everything After. The New York Times, January 16, 2009
  2. ^ America's Studliest Ballet Dancer Returns. New York Magazine, January 21, 2009
  3. ^ Edward Villella Florida Artists Hall of Fame
  4. ^ "Notable Alumni," Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia High School. Accessed Nov. 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Biography of Edward Villella. Archived 2006-09-03 at the Wayback Machine The Kennedy Center
  6. ^ (https://pro.imdb.com/title/tt0664244/)
  7. ^ New Jersey School of Balley - Special Artists Archived 2008-12-22 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Miami City Ballet".
  9. ^ Wakin, Daniel (4 September 2012). "Edward Villella Departs Miami City Ballet Early". New York Times. New York, United States. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  10. ^ People and Companies in the News. Dance Magazine, October 2000

External links

A Midsummer Night's Dream (ballet)

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a two-act ballet choreographed by George Balanchine to Felix Mendelssohn's music to Shakespeare's play of the same name. In addition to the incidental music, Balanchine incorporated other Mendelssohn works into the ballet, including the Overtures to Athalie, Son and Stranger, and The Fair Melusine, the "String Symphony No. 9 in C minor" and The First Walpurgis Night. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Balanchine's first completely original full-length ballet, premiered at New York City Ballet on 17 January 1962, with Edward Villella in the role of Oberon, Melissa Hayden in the role of Titania, and Arthur Mitchell in the role of Puck. They were joined by Francisco Moncion in the role of Theseus- Duke of Athens. The ballet employs a large children's corps de ballet. Act I tells Shakespeare's familiar story of lovers and fairies while Act II presents a strictly classical dance wedding celebration. The ballet dispenses with Shakespeare's play-within-a-play finale. A Midsummer Night's Dream opened The New York City Ballet's first season at the New York State Theater in April, 1964.

Bugaku (ballet)

Este artículo es sobre el ballet de Balanchine de 1963.Bugaku es un ballet hecho para el New York City Ballet realizado por el co fundador y maestro de ballet George Balanchine con música homónima de Toshiro Mayuzumi,encargado por City Ballet en 1962.

En la biografía de Martin Duberman de Lincoln Kirstein, el dio una carta que Robbins escribió a un amigo sobre la reacción que Balanchine tuvo sobre el Teatro de Kabuki el cual visitó los Estados Unidos en 1960, tres años antes que él empezara a trabajar en Bugaku. Robbins escribe: “ Él piensa que solo son muchos hombres mayores de pie”.

Él génesis de Bugaku, empieza con Kirstein. En 1958 el NYCB se fue de gira a Japón por un mes, como parte de la gira del lejano oriente de cinco meses y Kirstein se quedó cautivado – quizás excitado - por el arte tradicional del país. Después de muchas vueltas y negociaciones él fue capaz de traer Gagaku (los bailarines y los músicos de la corte del imperio japonés) a los Estados Unidos, y la compañía dio muchas actuaciones en el City Center durante la temporada del Ballet de la Ciudad ahí en 1959. Quizás Balanchine fue indiferente a Gagaku cuando él estuvo en el Teatro de Kabuki que no era conocido, pero el entusiasmo de Kirstein por todo lo japonés prevaleció.

El estreno tuvo lugar el 30 de marzo de 1963 en el City Center of Music and Drama, Nueva York, con escenografía de David Hays, trajes de Karinska e iluminación de Ronald Bates con Kent y Edward Villella en los roles principales.


Capezio is the trade name of Capezio Ballet Makers Inc., a manufacturer of dance shoes, apparel and accessories.

Danseur noble

A danseur noble traditionally was a male ballet dancer who projected great nobility of character. Over the last century the term has been used to define a male principal dancer who performs at the highest theatrical level combining grace with ability. Some use danseur noble as the masculine equivalent to a Prima Ballerina.

Harriman-Jewell Series

The Harriman-Jewell Series (originally known as the "William Jewell College Fine Arts Program"), is a performing arts presentation organization founded in 1965, and based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Originally known as the "William Jewell College Fine Arts Program", it hosted Luciano Pavarotti's international recital debut on February 1, 1973. Held in William Jewell College’s John Gano Memorial Chapel, Pavarotti was perspiring due to nerves and a lingering cold. The tenor clutched a handkerchief throughout the debut, which became a signature part of his solo performances. Over the years, Pavarotti sang five recitals for the organization.

The Series has since hosted several leading tenors, including Giuseppe Filianoti (2012), Francisco Araiza (1982), Ben Heppner (1997), Marcelo Álvarez (2001), Juan Diego Flórez (2002), Daniil Shtoda (2002), Salvatore Licitra (2005), and Clifton Forbis (2006).

New York City Ballet’s Patricia McBride and Edward Villella danced in the Series’ first performance in December 1965, and violinist Itzhak Perlman played a recital in 1971.

The organisation hosts a variety of free discovery concerts, and events that allow interaction with musicians and dancers.

The organisation also makes the performing arts an integral part of the college curriculum for William Jewell College students. Among the oldest colleges west of the Mississippi River, William Jewell was named TIME Magazine's "Liberal Arts College of the Year" for 2001-2002.“Cezanne called the Louvre ‘the book in which we learn to read,’” said Terry Teachout, a Jewell alumnus and drama critic for the Wall Street Journal. “The Harriman program was the book in which I learned to see, hear, and love the performing arts. It gave me a golden yardstick of taste–-one I still use to this day.”“No one will ever be able to calculate how the presence of some of the world’s most superb artists before area innocents influenced the development of resident music, dance and theater companies,” the Kansas City Star wrote of the Harriman-Jewell Series. “What Harriman has done...has multiplied in countless, wonderful ways.”

Ice Theatre of New York

The Ice Theatre of New York is a professional ensemble company dancing on ice, performing works by choreographers drawn from competitive figure skating and modern and contemporary dance. Aiming to create dance on ice as part of the modern performing arts scene, Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY) was first conceived by Marc Bogaerts, Marjorie Kouns, Cecily Morrow and Moira North. Moira North went on to found ITNY in 1984. North, a Canadian-born skater was twice named one of the 25 most influential names in figure skating by International Figure Skating Magazine. Based at the Chelsea Piers rink complex in New York City, Ice Theatre of New York was the first not-for-profit professional ice dance company in the U.S. and the first to receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Italian ice dancer, choreographer and aerialist, Elisa Angeli, is Ice Theatre of New York’s Ensemble Director.

Ice Theatre of New York has performed works by choreographers such as Marc Bogaerts, Edward Villella, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Alberto del Saz, Carlos Orta, Twyla Tharp, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Peter Martins, Lar Lubovitch, Elisa Monte, Susan Marshall, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Tommy Steenberg, Frank Nowosad, David Dorfman, Bill Woehrle, Rob McBrien, Nathan Madden, Jim May, Gary Beacom, Peter DiFalco, Charles “Chucky” Klapow, Matthew Nash, Judy Blumberg, Gaiane & Akop Akopian, Lorna Brown and Florentine Houdinière.

The company has supported emerging choreographers including Beth Woronoff, Joel Dear, Elladj Baldé, Eliot Jon Halverson, Elisa Angeli (who also serves as the Ensemble Director), Line Haddad, Alyssa Stith, David Liu, Heather Harrington, Katherine Healy, and Douglas Webster. Performance artists Ann Carlson and Greg Wittrock have also choreographed for Ice Theatre of New York. Several emerging choreographers Ice Theatre of New York supported have gone on to form their own companies.

The Ice Theatre of New York ensemble consists of 8 to 12 skaters from the NY area. They perform solos, duets and group repertory pieces. The company has created close to 100 repertory pieces to date. Guest artists who performed with the company include Elladj Baldé, Gary Beacom, Surya Bonaly, Kurt Browning, John Curry, Dorothy Hamill, Sarah Hughes, Nancy Kerrigan, Kiira Korpi, Ross Miner, Tatiana Navka & Roman Kostomarov, Evgeni Plushenko, Adam Rippon, Lucinda Ruh, Rohene Ward, Johnny Weir, and Paul Wylie.

Ice Theatre of New York has garnered ongoing private support from the Lisa McGraw Figure Skating Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Will Sears Memorial Fund, the Kasputys family, the Eagan Family Foundation, and many individuals from the skating community, who are energized by Ice Theatre’s annual Gala honoring key figures such as Dick Button, Dorothy Hamill, Tenley Albright, Belita, Ludmila Belousova & Oleg Protopopov, Barbara Ann Scott, Sasha Cohen, Evan Lysacek, Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner, JoJo Starbuck & Ken Shelley, Johnny Weir, and others. Performances have been favorably reviewed in major media.Weekly during the season, the Ice Theatre of New York ensemble gathers for Choreography Labs where they work with established and emerging choreographers. As funds permit, ITNY arranges two-week residencies in other cities where ice rental is less expensive, such as Lake Placid, NY, or Sun Valley, ID, in order to develop new choreography and the dance artistry and athleticism of the ensemble.

Aerial artists such as Elisa Angeli, Joel Dear, and Sally Jeanne Watkins have combined dancing on ice with circus arts in spectacular Ice Theatre of New York performances.

In a format developed by Olympic Champion John Curry as a class for his skating company, skaters in the group’s weekly Master Edge Class focus on ensemble movement to music. This class functions much like the ballet barre in Ballet. In service to the community of skaters, this class is free to all adult skaters. Junior skaters are provided twice weekly summer classes.

Ice Theatre of New York’s educational outreach extends to New York City public school children, K-12. Their New Works and Young Artists Series gives arts exposure to students from neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Students view a performance that includes the professional company and several junior skaters followed by a one hour ice skating lesson. Programming takes place at several public rinks around the city, for a total of 10-12 sessions for 2,600-plus students.

The company provides ticketed home season performances at Chelsea Piers Sky Rink each year as well as free performances at Rockefeller Center and Riverbank State Park (Harlem); and other venues.

Ice Theatre of New York is available for performances at special events at the area rinks or in event spaces on a synthetic ice surface, which the company owns and can easily be installed in under an hour.

James Jamieson (dancer)

James Jamieson (1920 – December 25, 1993) was a specialist in Highland dancing, best remembered for both performing in and restaging Agnes de Mille's Brigadoon.

Jamieson (also known as Jamie Jamieson) was a native of Evanston, Illinois and studied at Northwestern University. He began his career in ballet, but by the mid-1940s was an internationally recognized Scottish dance champion. In 1947, de Mille hired Jamieson to coach the cast of Brigadoon in traditional Scottish dancing, which inaugurated a decades-long association with the musical. (He had earlier worked with de Mille on the first national tour of Oklahoma!) Jamieson replaced James Mitchell as Harry Beaton, then went on to play Harry on tour, overseas, and in assorted stock productions. In New York, he recreated de Mille's choreography for Brigadoon at New York City Center in 1957, on Broadway in 1980, and at New York City Opera in 1986 and 1991; in addition, he was de Mille's assistant for the 1963 City Center revival, which starred Edward Villella as Harry. De Mille also featured Jamieson in the Agnes de Mille Dance Theatre and the Heritage Dance Theatre, as well as in television specials.

Besides his various productions of Brigadoon, Jamieson choreographed for a number of regional and stock theatres, working with such stars as Judy Holliday. He had considerably greater influence, however, as a dance teacher. With Helena Antonova, he opened the Academy of the Dance in 1956 in Wilmington, Delaware; his students there included modern dancer Tina Fehlandt, Scottish dancer Victor Wesley, and choreographer Susan Stroman.

In 1967, he began his celebrated productions of Tchaikovsky’s "The Nutcracker Ballet" and for 27 consecutive years, produced, directed and performed various roles in the work. Mr. Jamieson died on Christmas Day, 1993, nine days after he appeared as the grandmother in the opening night presentation of the Academy of the Dance's 27th production of "The Nutcracker".The Delaware Community Foundation offers the James Jamieson Memorial Scholarship to ballet students on a competitive basis.

Linda Carbonetto

Linda Carbonetto, married names: Engel, Villella (born April 12, 1949) is a Canadian former competitive figure skater. She is the 1969 Canadian national champion and competed at the 1968 Winter Olympics. She was born in New York City and raised in Ontario.

Carbonetto turned professional in 1970 and toured professionally with Ice Capades. She serves as the School Director for the Miami City Ballet. Her second husband is Edward Villella. She was also married to Peter Engel for a time.

Lydia Díaz Cruz

Lydia Diaz Cruz is a Prima Ballerina who started dancing in Havana, Cuba, and trained with Fernando Alonso and Alicia Alonso. As a young dancer, she was talent-spotted by a well-known British dancer and teacher from an earlier era, Dame Phyllis Bedells, who traveled to Cuba and regarded her as the most naturally gifted dancer she'd seen since Margot Fonteyn. Early marriage and exile from Cuba in the wake of the Castro revolution put a halt to her career, which she resumed after the birth of her third child in the early sixties. She went on to dance in the United States with Ballet Concerto in Miami, became principal dancer with the National Ballet of Washington, D.C., and has performed in principal guest roles with the National Ballet of Venezuela, Washington Ballet, Ballet Spectacular. She danced alongside many of the great artists of the day, including Margot Fonteyn and Melissa Hayden, among many others.

She is probably best known for her role in The Dying Swan, a version that is closer to that of Maya Plisetskaya than the famous early one by Anna Pavlova; many who've seen it proclaim it as even more memorable that those of her illustrious predecessors. It was her signature performance, and she danced the piece to the end of her career with undiminished skill and fulsome acclaim from audiences. She has been partnered by many of the greatest male dancers of the 20th century, including Fernando Bujones, Peter Martins, Jacques d'Amboise, Edward Villella, Ivan Nagy, and Royes Fernandez. She has been honored in the United States Congressional Record and by Miami City Ballet, of which she is a founding Board member. She lives in Miami.

Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet is an American ballet company based in Miami Beach, Florida, led by artistic director Lourdes Lopez. MCB was founded in 1985 by Toby Lerner Ansin, a Miami philanthropist. Ansin and the founding board hired Edward Villella, former New York City Ballet principal dancer to be the founding artistic director.A bulk of the company's repertoire is made up of the work of George Balanchine, though the company also performs works by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Trey McIntyre, Mark Morris, Jimmy Gamonet, who was the company's founding Resident Choreographer and Ballet Master from 1986 to 1999, Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, and others, in addition to traditional full-length works including "Giselle" and "Don Quixote (ballet)".In 2012, Lourdes Lopez was chosen to replace founding artistic director Edward Villella.Miami City Ballet features an international ensemble of over 50 dancers. The company has an active repertoire of 88 ballets and performs over 75 times annually. Miami City Ballet serves as the resident ballet company in theaters in the Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach areas. In addition, the company regularly tours both domestically and internationally. Its North American appearances include the Kennedy Center, the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Los Angeles Music Center, Spoleto Festival USA, Harris Theater (Chicago) and the New York City Center; while theaters and festivals in Europe, Central America, and South America have hosted the company.Along with the ballet company, Miami City Ballet hosts a ballet school for students aging between 3 and 18. The school is split into three divisions: Children's division (ages 3 to 8), Student division (ages 8 to 13), and Pre-Professional division (ages 13 to 18). Students must audition to be placed in a division. Like the company, the school focuses on the Balanchine method (or Balanchine technique). MCB school students have the opportunity to perform in the yearly Nutcracker performance that the Miami City Ballet company puts together, and there are a number of intensive summer programs that students are eligible to attend.

Miami Conservatory

The Miami Conservatory is a school of ballet and classical dance, located in South Miami, Florida. Founded in 1949 by Thomas Armour, it is the oldest school of ballet in South Florida.

The conservatory trains students of all ages, with more of an emphasis on young children. Many of the students of the conservatory go on to perform at the Miami City Ballet, a professional ballet company with a national and international reputation, founded in 1985 by Toby Lerner Ansin with founding artistic director, Edward Villella.

Famous alumni include actress Fiona Hutchison, who learned from Armour as a child.

Narkissos (ballet)

Narkissos is a ballet made by Edward Villella to music by Robert Prince, from an idea by William D. Roberts. The premiere took place on 21 July 1966, with the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY.

New Jersey Ballet

The New Jersey Ballet is a ballet company based in Livingston, New Jersey in the United States, founded in 1958 by native New Jerseyan Carolyn Clark and her fellow dancer, George Tomal.

Philip Neal

Philip H Neal (born in Richmond, Virginia) was a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. He studied from age 11 at the Richmond Ballet School. After six years of study there, Edward Villella arranged a summer scholarship for him at NCYB's School of American Ballet. In 1985 Philip won the silver medal at the Prix de Lausanne ballet competition.

The following year Neal graduated magna cum laude from St. Paul's School and was a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts' Presidential Scholar of the Arts and as a consequence performed at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He subsequently enrolled full-time at SAB and also trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School in Copenhagen, joining NYCB's corps de ballet in 1987. Four years later Neal was promoted to soloist and at the end of the 1992–1993 winter season to principal dancer. Neal's farewell performance took place Sunday, June 13, 2010, and consisted of ballets by George Balanchine.

Tarantella (ballet)

Tarantella is a ballet made by New York City Ballet co-founder and balletmaster George Balanchine to Louis Moreau Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle, Op. 67 (ca. 1858–64), reconstructed and orchestrated for piano and orchestra by Hershy Kay in July 1954. The premiere took place January 7, 1964, at the City Center of Music and Drama, New York.

Tener Brown

Tener Brown (or Carolyn Tener Brown, born 1960) is an American ballet coach of New Jersey Ballet. She is a former ballet dancer of American Ballet Theatre and actress.

Toby Lerner Ansin

Toby Ansin (née Lerner, born January 3, 1941) is the former wife of Edmund Ansin, co-founder of Sunbeam Television In 1985 she founded Miami City Ballet, a dance company that altered the cultural landscape of the city of Miami and which subsequently acquired a national and international reputation. Ansin has continuously served on the Board of Trustees since its founding. Miami City Ballet is the largest South Florida arts organization reaching an annual audience of over 125,000 in four Florida counties. It includes a ballet school with over 1500 students and adults.

William Weslow

William Weslow is an American dancer who split his career between ballet and musical theatre.

Awards for Edward Villella

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