2 3 Throwback Thursday and Geoffrey Holder | Ballet Webb

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Geoffrey Holder

Throwback Thursday and Geoffrey Holder

Last week the world lost a great artist and performer.  Geoffrey Holder, probably best known for the commercials he did in the 1970s and 1980s, died from complications of pneumonia.  He was 86.

Geoffrey Holder was a native of the West Indies, and he used this background and his bigger-than-life personality (he was also 6’6”) to rise to fame in dance, choreography, design and painting.  To say that he was multi-talented would be an understatement!

He directed a dance company in Trinidad and Tobago, performed on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera.  In 1975 he won a Tony Award for costume design for the musical “The Wiz”.  He choreographed for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem.  In addition to his performing arts career, he was also an accomplished photographer, painter and sculptor.  He also published a cookbook.

As a child, this pitchman for the “Uncola” struggled with a stutter, and was often laughed at when he had to read aloud in school.  It was his older brother Boscoe who taught Geoffrey to dance, paint and act, and had him join the folkloric group he formed called the Holder Dancing Company.  Geoffrey was seven years old at the time.

Geoffrey Holder said this about his philosophy on his artistic life:  “I create for that innocent little boy in the balcony who has come to the theater for the first time.  He wants to see magic, so I want to give him magic.”

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #51:
“Geoffrey Holder was a dancer and artist whose talents went beyond the dance world.”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I paint a slice of life, whatever it is that day.”
-          Geoffrey Holder

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