July 5, 1942 |
Brooklyn, New York
Eliot Feld (born July 5, 1942) is an American modern ballet choreographer, performer and director.
Life and career
Feld was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Alice (née Posner), a travel agent, and Benjamin Noah Feld, an attorney. Feld attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York and studied at the School of American Ballet and the New Dance Group, as well as with Richard Thomas and Donald McKayle. He performed as a child in George Balanchine's original production of The Nutcracker as the prince; and later with the companies of Mary Anthony, Pearl Lang, and Sophie Maslow.
At sixteen he appeared on Broadway in West Side Story and was cast as Baby John in the movie version of the musical. Feld was sick with pneumonia during the filming of "Cool" in West Side Story, one of the hardest dances in the film. Later, Feld joined American Ballet Theatre, but the age of twenty-five, he had broken away from ABT to form his own company, the American Ballet Company. Feld used his new company to explore a variety of dance genres. He appeared on television on The Garry Moore Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. His other Broadway credits include I Can Get It for You Wholesale and Fiddler on the Roof.
Feld was inspired by Jewish material along with the influence of one of his teachers, Martha Graham. His work has always been in the realm of ballet and he has always "loved the pointe shoe". His works are varied and contain anything from off-beat music to aerobic exercises including somersaults, push-ups, sprints, leaps and calisthenics.
Feld has choreographed 147 ballets since 1967. A Yankee Doodle, his most recent ballet, premiered in New York on June 11, 2015. A Yankee Doodle was choreographed for 13 kids from the Ballet Tech school, to American fife & drum music.
Feld works have been performed by and/or choreographed on the American Ballet Company, American Ballet Theatre, the Atlanta Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ballet Tech, the Boston Ballet, Feld Ballets/NY, the Joffrey Ballet, the John Curry Skating Company, the Juilliard School, Kids Dance, the London Festival Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Richmond Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet, among others.
In 1974, Feld began a ballet company, which has since transmogrified into the organization now known as Ballet Tech. Today, Ballet Tech’s activities include the tuition-free New York City Public School for Dance, and Kids Dance, a pre-professional children’s group. Since its founding in 1978, the Ballet Tech school has auditioned 827,655 New York City public school students, and provided classes for 20,977 children.
Feld works in an atmosphere between modern dance and classical ballet. He uses aspects from both styles and continues to fuse them together in his work. "The down of one, the up of the other -- both beauties attracted me, I think I've spent my choreographic life trying in some way to reconcile, cope, deal with these two elements."
In addition, with Cora Cahan, Feld founded the Joyce Theater. Feld was also instrumental in the creation of the Lawrence A. Wien Center for Dance & Theater at 890 Broadway in NYC.
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