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A prolific choreographer who could weave a tapestry of vivid paintings telling a story of a people!
The genius of an artist whose legacy will live on…
Fred Benjamin was the Chair of the Jazz department and Faculty advisor of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. An internationally renowned teacher and choreographer of Jazz Dance, he has taught at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, NYC, the Vlaamse Dasacademie, Brugge, Belgium, and the IAC Studio in Tokyo, Japan. He has also taught at SUNY, Purchase, N.Y., Connecticut College, Ohio State University, The American Dance Festival, Duke University, and at Jacob’s Pillow, Lee, MA.
He started the Fred Benjamin Dance Company while he was performing on Broadway in Hello Dolly starring Pearl Bailey and in Michael Bennett’s Promises Promises. Mr. Benjamin’s first theater job was in the off-Broadway show, We’re Civilized? featuring Karen Black. He performed for three seasons at the Jones Beach Marine Theater, where he did Mardi Gras, choreographed by the renowned television choreographer, June Taylor. He was also a featured guest dance artist on the celebrated CBS special, Ailey Salutes Ellington with Gladys Knight. Fred has choreographed numerous ballets for his company and has been commissioned to choreograph and re-stage his ballets for many other dance companies, including the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Philadanco, Forces of Nature Dance Company, Gallman’s Newark Dance Theater, Impulse Dance Theater, and Alpha Omega Theater Dance Company. Theatrically, he choreographed the original workshop productions of Bubblin’ Brown Sugar and It’s So Nice to Be Civilized, both for the Amas Repertory Theater. Also among his choreographic credits is the rock opera Soon, which featured Peter Allen, Nell Carter, and Richard Gere. His early nightclub performing experience with Larry Steel’s Smart Affairs has helped in the staging and direction of Feathers and Fantasy, a popular Latin nightclub revue and nightclub act for Gloria Gaynor, Ernestine Jackson, Cheryl Lynn, and Winston Hemsley.
Friedman-Abeles photograph collection