The New York Times is reporting that ballet star Albert Evans has died. Evans, a former New York City Ballet principal dancer and one of the most prominent African-Americans in classical dance, passed away Monday night at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC after an undisclosed, brief illness.
Evans was one of only two African-American principal dancers in New York City Ballet’s 67-year history. The first was Arthur Mitchell, who is now 81.
The author reports:
“As a principal, Evans danced a huge variety of roles in the City Ballet repertoire, from classical to modern, from George Balanchine to Jerome Robbins to Christopher Wheeldon. He joined the company in 1988 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a soloist in 1991 and a principal in 1995. Evans retired during the spring 2010 season with an emotional farewell performance, and had been serving since then as a ballet master at the company.
‘The entire New York City Ballet family is heartbroken by the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Albert Evans,’ said Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, in a statement. “Kind, warm, generous, and always a joy to be with, Albert is quite simply irreplaceable.’
Evans was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and trained there as a youngster. In 1986, he was awarded a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school.
His more prominent roles in Balanchine ballets included the Cavalier in ‘The Nutcracker’ and Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ among many others. He had featured roles in Wheeldon’s ‘Polyphonia’ and ‘Liturgy.’ And he originated roles in a number of works by Martins, including his 1991 ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ in which Evans danced Puss in Boots, and “Romeo + Juliet,” in which he played a commanding Prince of Verona.”
Evans was 46.
Read more at the New York Times.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.