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April 23, 1944|
|Known for||Dancing Classrooms|
Pierre Dulaine (born 23 April 1944) is a well-known ballroom dancer and dance instructor. He invented the Dulaine method of teaching dance. He also developed Dancing Classrooms, a social development program for 5th grade children that uses ballroom dancing as a vehicle to change the lives of the children and their families.
Early life and education
Pierre Dulaine was born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1944. His Irish father was serving with the British Army stationed in Palestine; his mother is part Palestinian and part French. In 1948 his parents left Palestine. After eight months of wandering around first in Cyprus, then in England and Ireland, Pierre's family settled in Amman, Jordan. Growing up in Amman, Pierre learned to speak French at school, Arabic on the street and English at home. In 1956, because of the problems in Egypt and the Suez Canal (see Suez Crisis), Pierre's parents had to flee yet again, leaving everything behind. With a stop in Beirut the family resettled in Birmingham, England, where one year later at age 14, Pierre began his dancing career.
By the time Dulaine was 18 he took his Associate Degree as a professional dancer. And at 21, he took his three majors exams in Ballroom, Latin dance and Olde Tyme (dances that fall under the Sequence Faculty of the ISTD, generally dances that pre-date WWI) all in one day, a feat that had not been accomplished before Not only did Pierre pass the exams, but he passed with Highly Commended[clarification needed] and became a full member of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
With this early success under his belt, Dulaine soon went on to twice win the "Duel of the Giants" at the Royal Albert Hall in London and captured the "All England Professional Latin American Championship". In 1971 he worked as a solo dancer at the famous Talk of the Town in London's West End, as well as at a late, late Night Club called L'Hirondelle where he made friends with many interesting 'artistes'. Pierre next went to Nairobi, Kenya and worked in Cabaret with the world renowned Bluebell Troupe from Paris at the Nairobi Casino for a year. Finally, Pierre signed on as a cruise director on a ship sailing out of New York City to the Caribbean Islands. In 1972, "I got off of the cruise ship thinking I would be in New York City for a two-week holiday but I got a job at an Arthur Murray dance studio and I have been in New York ever since."
In 1973, with a background in ballet, Yvonne Marceau came into Arthur Murray's for a teacher's job and in January 1976 Pierre and Yvonne became dance partners. They went to England to study for three months with John DelRoy and emerged as a dance team that won numerous awards and accolades, including the 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1982 British Exhibition Championships, Dance Magazine's award for excellence, the National Dance Council of America award, the Dance Educators of America Award, and the Americans for the Arts "Arts in Education" 2005 award.
In 1984, Pierre and Yvonne started the American Ballroom Theater Company. They made their company debut at the Dance Theatre Workshop in October 1984 and in March 1986 did a two-week engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. After that start, their company traveled all over the US, Europe and the Far East. In July 1989 Pierre and Yvonne joined the workshop for Tommy Tune's Broadway show Grand Hotel and danced on Broadway for 2½ years, finishing with a five month run in London's West End.
Pierre has been called a "Dancer and Teacher extraordinaire" by the New York Times and (with Yvonne) has received the Astaire Award for "Best Dancing on Broadway" in Grand Hotel. He has been a faculty member of the School of American Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Juilliard School.
In recognition of his achievements, Dulaine received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in May 2011.