Fagan, Garth

Fagan, Garth, 1940–, Jamaican-American dancer and choreographer. He studied with Ivy Baxter and left Jamaica to dance with her company. Settling (1960) in Detroit, he attended Wayne State Univ. (grad. 1968) and studied with such dance luminaries as Pearl Primus, Martha Graham, and Alvin Ailey. In 1970 he founded his own company, based in Rochester, N.Y., and subsequently called Garth Fagan Dance. Working with this group and creating at least one new dance annually, he has established a signature style that combines African and Caribbean rhythms and torso-centered movements with the solidity of modern dance, the precision of ballet, and an element of postmodern experimentation. He has also choreographed pieces for other dance troupes. In 1991 he premiered Griot New York, a collaboration with composer Wynton Marsalis and sculptor Martin Puryear. Fagan won wide public recognition with his Tony Award–winning dances for the Broadway musical Lion King (1997). Since 1972, Fagan has been a professor at the State Univ. of New York, Brockport.

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