Villella, Edward

Villella, Edward,

1936–, American ballet dancer, b. Long Island, N.Y. Villella studied at George BalanchineBalanchine, George
, 1904–83, American choreographer and ballet dancer, b. St. Petersburg, Russia, as Georgi Balanchivadze. The son of a Georgian composer and a Russian mother, Balanchine attended (1913–21) the Imperial Ballet School, St.
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's School of American Ballet, joining the New York City BalletNew York City Ballet
(NYCB), one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th and 21st cents. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946.
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 in 1957. He soon became a principal dancer with a large repertoire of roles, most notably The Prodigal Son. Villella's dancing was remarkable for its tremendous vigor and dynamic style. He served as artistic coordinator of the Eglevsky Ballet (1979–84) and as director of the Oklahoma Ballet (1983–85), then founded and directed (1985–2012) the Miami City Ballet, which became a major regional ensemble.

Villella, Edward

(1936–  ) ballet dancer, artistic director; born in Bayside, N.Y. Trained at the School of American Ballet and a welterweight boxing champion in college, he joined New York City Ballet in 1957. His athletic style helped dispel the myth that ballet was "unmasculine." After a hip injury he became artistic director of the Eglevsky Ballet Company in 1979 and founded the Miami City Ballet in 1985.