David Howard 1937 - 2013

David Howard danced with the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, now The Royal Ballet, where he was promoted to soloist status. He also danced with the National Ballet of Canada and appeared in London’s West End musicals; among them Bob Fosse’s Little Me.

Video interview with David Howard in 2008

David Howard (2nd left) in his studio at West 61st St., New York, in 1986. Photo: Emma Kauldhar

Born: 14 June 1937
Died: 11 August 2013

David Howard passed away on Sunday, August 11th at age 76 in New York City. The cause was a stroke.

David Howard’s career began as a child performer in radio, films and commercials. Later, working as a principal dancer at London’s famed Palladium Theatre; he had the honor of appearing in a Royal Command Performance before Queen Elizabeth II. He later joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, now The Royal Ballet and was promoted to soloist status. Mr. Howard danced with the National Ballet of Canada and appeared in London’s West End musicals; among them Bob Fosse’s Little Me. He performed in cabaret throughout Europe and was featured in many television productions.

David Howard. Photo: Victor DeLiso

After a successful performing career, in 1966, he was invited by Rebekah Harkness to join the faculty and later direct the Harkness Ballet School in New York City. With the Harkness Ballet Company, he held the positions of Principal Teacher and Ballet Master. In 1977, Mr. Howard opened his own school adjacent to Lincoln Center. His classes became the mainstay in the professional training of many notable dancers. On any given day, scattered among the serious ballet students who found their way to David’s barre, one could plie, tendu and pirouette next to the most elite in the field. Makarova, Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland (“I am forever indebted to David Howard for his enlightened teaching for over 20 years. He imparts his love of dance by inviting you to take a journey with him…you only have to want to go.”), Peter Martins, Cynthia Harvey, dancers from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and numerous other companies throughout the world have made David the most sought after teacher. He taught classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center and coached Angel Corella, Jared Matthews, Yuriko Kajiya and many of the next generation of ABT and New York City Ballet dancers can be found in his daily classes. In 2000, he was Artistic Director of the First World Congress of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in Mexico, and for many years taught for the New School/Joffrey BFA program (presented later as the New School University/Engene Lang College program).

David Howard. Photo: Victor DeLiso

Mr. Howard kept his international ties teaching The Royal Ballet in London and working with Sylvie Guillem, Tamara Rojo who said: “If I ever become a ballet teacher, I hope I am as important to my students as David Howard is to me, and the up-and-coming young dancers in the company. In addition he worked with companies in Denmark, Germany, Holland and Sweden. He has coached many successful competition winners and worked with theatre, television and motion picture stars, among them Bebe Neuwirth, Mary Tyler Moore and John Lithgow.

The David Howard Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) was established to help young dancers and choreographers; create a dance library, with historical and technical books, videos, DVDs and dance music CDs; and sponsor research work connected with dancer’s diets, dance-related injuries and kinesiology. The Foundation presents teachers’ training workshops around the world and A Month of Sundays master classes for serious teen age students each January in New York City.

David Howard is the recipient of the 2006 Dance Magazine Award and was the 2007 Educational Spokesperson for National Dance Week. He received a Doctor of Performing Arts Honorary Degree from Oklahoma City University and the Dance Masters of American Award. David served as President of the National Association of Regional Ballet in America and for many years as an adjudicator and master teacher at the West Virginia Dance Festival in Charleston. He is prominent on the boards of many dance affiliated companies and is on the Advisory Board of Regional Dance America and The Dancers’ Resource Advisory Council of The Actors Fund. He has made over 150 CDs and numerous videos of classical instruction distributed by Roper Records, Jay Distributors and Danceables. His DVD Turns, Leaps & Bounds was produced by Bob Rizzo Productions and another DVD Legends produced by Bodarc and distributed by Jay Distributors will be released this year.

Mr. Howard was profiled in People Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, Dancer Magazine, Ballet Review and in the Dancing Times. He gave the keynote address at the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) at their 2008 annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio and was the recipient of the first Master Teacher Award from the Indianapolis City Ballet in 2011. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World and The Art of Teaching Ballet…Ten Twentieth Century Masters which quotes its author, Gretchen Warren: “David Howard’s wizardry is something dancers feel in their bones. For years they have flocked to him in large numbers and today he is the best known, most popular ballet teacher working in America.”