Fred Benjamin

1534484_10202635428384784_208253087_nFRED BENJAMIN

Dancer ~ Choreographer

{Born: September 8, 1944 – Death: December 14, 2013}

By Dale Ricardo Shields

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Fred Benjamin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1944. He began dancing at age four at the Elma Lewis’ School of Fine Arts in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  When the MacArthur Foundation initiated its so-called genius grants, Ms. Lewis was among the first recipients, singled out as one of the foremost dance educators in a black community. When Mr. Benjamin moved to New York in 1962, she financed his ballet lessons. She also introduced him to Mr. Beatty, who became another important mentor and to whom he paid tribute in his choreography. Benjamin danced with dancer and choreographer Talley Beatty from 1963 until 1966, when the company closed. Two years later, he started his own New York-based Fred Benjamin Dance Company, which existed, largely without funding, for twenty years.

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