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Recollections of Dancer-Choreologist Richard Holden

On October 14, 2015 Richard passed away in Tucson, Arizona at age 88 due to complications from relapsed cancer.  His whole life was devoted to making the world more beautiful for everyone - JD
Arizona Daily Star obituary

On November 5, 2016 the University of Arizona Dance Department presented a Tribute to Richard Holden. They presented a memorial slide show which you can view on YouTube.

Richard Holden, a soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet during its opening season at Lincoln Center, became the first American resident Choreologist with the Met, American Ballet Theater, Harkness Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet.

Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, the youngest of five children of an abandoned mother, he grew up fatherless, in poverty and abuse. At 14 he discovered dance after reading the life of Vaslav Nijinsky and was inspired to become a dancer. Russian speaking, he found a dance teacher in Boston, Senia Russakoff, who taught him Russian character dancing. At 16 he left Boston for NYC to pursue a ballet career, studying first with George Chaffee, then as a scholarship student at Ballet Theater school under Bronislava Nijinska, sister of Vaslav. During the 60s he danced with Ballets Minerva in England and graduated from the London Institute Of Choreology as the first American choreologist. He later became soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet during the first season in Lincoln Center and resident choreologist for the Met and with American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, and Harkness Ballet. He is also a choreographer, writer, Russian language translator, musician, and book illustrator.

The chapters in this online book chronologically fill in the details of the two summary paragraphs above.  There are many unique contemporary observations of persons and places that comprise the 20th century dance world.  Illustrated with numerous vintage photographs and drawings, the book takes the reader on an engaging and insightful journey.  As well, the reader will find out what a Choreologist does!

Please as well visit Richka.Com for Russian folk music, pictures, and full length online performance videos.

James Duncan
OKAY Multimedia
Santa Cruz, California
April 8, 2006

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