ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — World-renowned choreographer Garth Fagan is among six artists who will be honored during the Rochester Music Hall of Fame Ceremony Sunday, April 30 at Eastman Theatre.
At 82 years “young” the Jamaican born artist has an extensive repertoire working with many composers from Brahms and Vivaldi to Wynton Marsalis and Miles Davis. In 1998, Fagan won a Tony Award for his groundbreaking choreography in the Broadway production of The Lion King.
We spoke a few days before the Induction Ceremony and he explained what first when he’s creating, the movement or the dance.
“It differs, sometimes the dances bang in me all over the place so I have to do it then I find the music. Sometimes the music is so beautiful that I have to do a dance,” Fagan explained.
Inside Garth Fagan’s studio in the heart of downtown Rochester he points to the five coveted Bessie Awards he and his principal dancers have earned over the years in New York for their trailblazing moves and groundbreaking choreography. For 52 years dancers from across the globe have travelled to Rochester to eager to soak up the genius that is Garth Fagan Dance.
“They come because of the name, they know they’re going to have a good time, they’re going to have to work hard but that’s good.”
A fixture absent from his dance studio are mirrors.
“No we don’t want any mirrors because we want our dancers to dance from the inside out to find the shape without a mirror,” he explains.
He says the discipline, nurturing and love he provides his dancers young and old stem from the guidance and support instilled in him growing up in Jamaica —and reinforced in this country by mentors like Duke Ellington. “So I had people that surround me and push me and exalt me and cuss me out when necessary.”
Garth Fagan dance will perform a Jamaican inspired dance during Sunday’s ceremony. For tickets and more information, click here.