I began my 50 year professional career as a dancer in the summer of 1968 when I was hired to perform in "Horn in the West".....an outdoor drama in Boone, NC.
I moved to Georgia the following summer of 1969 to work for the Atlanta Theatre of the Stars for their summer stock season, and became a member of the professional theatre union: the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA).
In the summer of 1970, I was hired by John Kenley to dance for his summer stock theatre organization: the Kenley Players of Ohio. I continued to dance for John Kenley for 10 more summers... until 1980.
In so many ways, I feel like I 'grew up' as a performer working for the Kenley Players. It was thrilling to work beside so many famous stage and screen stars and to learn and perform the original choreography of famous people like: Ron Fields, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Gower Champion and Jack Cole.
I also performed in the off-Broadway production of "A Matter of Time" in NYC (1975)...in."Man of La Mancha" for the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in FLA (1979)... and in the Broadway production of "Onward Victoria" in NYC (1980).
All in all, I have performed in over 30 professional musical theatre
productions...often dancing in featured roles like Dream Curly in “The Dream Ballet” from “Oklahoma”, Harry Beaton in “Brigadoon”, Dark Glasses in “Sweet Charity” and the roles of The Horse and Pedro the Muleteer in “Man of La Mancha”.
In 1973 I got my first job in a professional dance company: the Geneva Ballet in Switzerland. This company was under the direction of George Balanchine and Patricia Neary.
I was fortunate to dance in many of Balanchine’s classic ballets such as: “Symphony in C”, “The Four Temperaments”, “Ballet Imperial”, “Prodigal Son”, “Allegro Brillante”, “The Nutcracker”, “Serenade” and “Agon”...in which I was featured in the "Pas de Deux" .
I also had a featured role in Alvin Ailey’s “Feast of Ashes”. And when the Geneva Ballet toured to Italy in the summer of 1974, I danced the male Waltz Lead in Balanchine’s “Serenade”...and the role of Hilarion in “Giselle” opposite Vasiliev and Maximova from the Bolshoi Ballet.
I returned to NYC in the fall of 1974 to dance with the Luigi Jazz Dance Company in NYC and performed as a Guest Artist with the New Jersey Ballet in “The Nutcracker”.
I returned to Pittsburgh in the summer of 1975 to dance with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, which was under the direction of Nicolas Petrov and Frederic Franklin. While with PBT, I performed many of the full-length classical ballets such as: “Swan Lake”, “Coppelia”, “La Sylphide”, “The Nutcracker”, and also had featured roles in John Butler’s “Othello”, Ruth Page’s “Frankie and Johnny”, Fokine’s “Petrushka” and in the Kirov version of “Cinderella”.
In 1976, while in my second season with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, I joined the Dance Faculty at Point Park University. I was hired to teach Jazz and together with Ron Tassone, we transformed the Jazz Program at Point Park into one of the most prominent college Jazz programs in the country.
In 1978, Nicolas Petrov and I formed the American Dance Ensemble. This was a semi-professional company based at Point Park, and gave student dancers an incredible opportunity to work with top-notch choreographers and dance along side seasoned professional dancers.
With the American Dance Ensemble I danced principle roles in works such as: David Lichine’s “Graduation Ball”, Fokine’s “Les Syphides”, Jean Guelis’ “The 7 Deadly Sins”, Balanchine’s “Pas de Dix” and also in Nicolas Petrov’s “Americana, RFD”, “Romeo & Juliet”, “Scheherazade” and “Symphony in C”.
I began to explore my own choreography then while dancing with the company and teaching full-time at Point Park....and created “Opus Jazz”, “Livin’ in the City”, “Oh Happy Day”, “Jopliniana”, “The Minotaur” and my “West Side Story/Dance Suite”.
I moved back to NYC in 1980 to perform in the short-lived Broadway production of “Onward Victoria”. I also did some guest teaching for Les Ballets Jazz de Ecole de Danse in Quebec City, Canada.
Upon returning to Pittsburgh in 1981 to resume teaching at Point Park, I created my own dance company: The Extension. I formed this professional group with Judith Leifer, a former dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and who later became my wife.
It was both exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Judith and I were directing and dancing with The Extension while still teaching full-time at Point Park.
I created “Let’s Swing”, “Allegro Jazzioso”, “The Jazz Nutcracker”, “Future Talk”, “Communal Structures”, “Scary Monsters”, “American Gothic” and “Rhapsody in Blue” during those years.
After closing The Extension in 1986, my choreography and teaching at Point Park evolved in a more contemporary and sophisticated direction.This was a reflection of my being influenced by the new ideas that were coming into my life then such as: Sankai Juko, Pina Bausch, Bill T. Jones, Ping Chong and working as Guest Artist with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy under Mark Taylor’s direction.
I began to experiment with the use of live musicians, digital projection, spoken text and evocative stage settings. I went on to create: “MoonDance”, “Endless Vigil”, “Chains of Attachment”, “A Time of Ashes”, “Gravity’s Angels”, “Folie a Deux”, “Corridors”, “Ghost Dances”, “The Snow Queen”, “Dragana”, “Allegro Gypsioso”, “Arc of Descent” and “Transformation of Souls”.
In total, I have choreographed over 60 original works including my Pittsburgh classics like: “Allegro Jazzioso”, “MoonDance”, “Let’s Swing” and of course… “The Jazz Nutcracker”.