Harkarvy, Benjamin

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Harkarvy, Benjamin

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Harkarvy, Benjamin

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2003

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American dance teacher, choreographer, and artistic director, Benjamin Harkarvy (1930-2002), earned an international reputation for his eclectic approach to dance education (as demonstrated most notably in his tenure as the director of the Juilliard School Dance Division), as well as through his leadership of a number of prominent dance companies.

Born in New York City, Harkarvy began to study dance at the age of thirteen, already focused on the goal of teaching. Among his principal teachers were two highly regarded Russian expatriates: Edward Caton and Elizabeth Anderson-Ivantzova. Harkarvy studied primarily at the School of American Ballet. He had only a brief performing career, making his debut with the Brooklyn Lyric Opera at the age of eighteen and appearing in summer stock productions. From 1951 to 1955, he taught at Michel Fokine's school in New York City, and, in 1955, he opened his own school. Harkarvy's first post with a dance company came in 1957 with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The following year he was named ballet master of the Dutch National Ballet. Unhappy over problems with that company, he and a number of the dancers broke away and formed Nederlands Dans Theater in 1959. Harkarvy and Hans van Manen co-directed this new company, which combined ballet and modern dance in its repertory, for a decade. In 1969, Harkarvy became co-director, with Lawrence Rhodes, of the Harkness Ballet, which was disbanded the following year. He then returned to the Dutch National Ballet for a year, but, from 1973 to 1982, he was affiliated with the Pennsylvania Ballet. During this period, Harkarvy helped to raise the profile of the Philadelphia-based troupe, but he left after it began to experience financial difficulties. He subsequently held a variety of teaching positions before joining the Juilliard faculty in 1990. As director of the Juilliard's Dance Division from 1992, Harkarvy expanded existing programs and created innovative new ones, remaining with the school until the time of his death.

From the description of Benjamin Harkarvy papers, 1910-2003. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 155847772

American dance teacher, choreographer, and artistic director Benjamin Harkarvy (December16, 1930, New York City – March 30, 2002, New York City) had an international reputation for his eclectic approach to dance education and for his leadership of a number of renowned dance companies. Born in New York City, Harkarvy began to study at the age of 13, orienting himself toward the goal of teaching. His principal teachers were two highly regarded Russian expatriates: Edward Caton, whose classes, he remembered, imparted energy and a feel for rhythm and dynamics of movement; and Yelizaveta Anderson-Ivantzova, who built strength in the back and taught large parts of The Sleeping Beauty, the touchstone of classicism. Harkarvy studied dance in New York City, primarily at the George Balanchine's School of American Ballet, and had a brief performing career with the Brooklyn Lyric Opera and in summer stock before embarking on a life of teaching and directing. From 1951 to 1955 he taught at Michel Fokine's school in New York City, and in 1955 he opened his own school. Harkarvy's guidance of dance companies began in 1957 with the Royal Winnipeg (Man.) Ballet, and the following year he was named ballet master of the Dutch National Ballet. Unhappy with problems in the latter company, he and a number of the dancers broke away and formed (1959) Nederlands Dans Theater, which he and Hans van Manen co-directed for a decade and whose image he formed not only by his own choreography but also by the notable modern dancers, including Anna Sokolow, Glen Tetley, and John Butler, that he engaged to create works. In 1969 Harkarvy became co-director, with Lawrence Rhodes, of another troubled company, the Harkness Ballet, which was disbanded the following year. Harkarvy returned to the Dutch National Ballet for a year, and from 1973 to 1982 he was affiliated with the Pennsylvania Ballet, serving first as associate director and then as director, guiding it to increased regard and prominence. At the Juilliard School of Music's Dance division, whose faculty he joined in 1990 and headed from 1992, he expanded the already existing emphasis on both ballet and modern technique and created new programs that provided students with increased choreographic and performing opportunities. As director of the Dance Division, Harkarvy created a program for high school-age dancers, and increased options for Juilliard dancers interested in choreography. Juilliard's Summer Dance Intensive, begun in 1996, is a three-week program for dancers ages 15 to 17 who seek intensive training in both ballet and modern dance. During the 2001-02 season, Juilliard celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Dance Division. In February, to mark the occasion, a Juilliard Theater program featured works by several prominent Juilliard dance alumni: Base Line, a world premiere by Robert Battle; the New York premiere of Minus 7 by Ohad Naharin; and Thus Is All, a new work by Lar Lubovitch.

As a master teacher and coach, he worked with some of the world's leading dancers and with organizations such as the Royal Danish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, National Ballet of Spain, and the Nederlands Dans Theater. For six years he acted as director of the ballet project at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, conducting workshops in technique, choreography, and the art of the performer. Harkarvy was advisor to the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and to long-term collaborative projects with the Czech and Dutch ministries of culture. He also had participated in a number of Dutch Dance Days festivals as a teacher and panelist, and in 1999 took part in the satellite-linked conference titled Not Just Any Body, which was held at the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto and connected with more than 10 European and North American cities. An occasional guest instructor for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Harkarvy also was a consultant to the educational program of the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

Harkarvy choreographed extensively for European, Canadian, and American television, and was the subject of a program in the WNET-TV series, The Creative Person . He received several National Endowment for the Arts and Rockefeller choreographic grants. As guest choreographer for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble in 1987, he created Prom Story, followed by Cinque Madrigali (1991) and Three Debussy Duets (1992). After becoming director of the Juilliard Dance Division, he restaged his ballets, Time Passed Summer, Recital for Cello and Eight Dancers, and Mozart K. 458.

The Juilliard School. Press Release. March 30, 2002.

From the guide to the Benjamin Harkarvy papers, 1910-2003, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

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https://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n97872677

https://id.loc.gov/authorities/n97872677

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Dance teachers--United States--20th century

Dance--Study and teaching

Choreographers--United States--20th century

Choreographers--20th century

Dance teachers--20th century

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Dance teachers

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