Garth Fagan steps down as creative director 

click to enlarge Natalie Rogers-Cropper, Norwood Pennewell, and Garth Fagan have been long-time collaborators at Fagan's dance company. - PHOTO BY STEVE LABUZETTA
  • PHOTO BY STEVE LABUZETTA
  • Natalie Rogers-Cropper, Norwood Pennewell, and Garth Fagan have been long-time collaborators at Fagan's dance company.
It's the beginning of a new era for Garth Fagan Dance.

It was announced Monday that Garth Fagan, the Rochester company’s founder, has stepped down from his position as creative director. Fagan has selected Natalie Rogers-Cropper and Norwood Pennewell — both long-time principal dancers with the troupe — as executive director-school director and artistic director, respectively. Fagan will stay on as choreographer.

“I am so proud, so happy, so honored to have these two talented people that I have known, worked with, laughed with, cried with, celebrated with for decades to now be taking my legacy, my artistry, my dance, my heart, forward into tomorrow,” Fagan said in a press release. ”I am grateful beyond measure.”

Pennewell came to Garth Fagan Dance in 1979, and Rogers-Cropper joined the company in 1989. Both dancers have been essential in spreading Fagan’s technique and aesthetic as well as his company’s global reach.

Choreographer Garth Fagan received the 1998 Tony Award for Best Choreography for his work on the beloved Broadway musical “The Lion King,” based on the 1994 Disney movie of the same name. Director Julie Taymor, who also won a Tony Award for the musical, credited Rogers-Cropper and Pennewell’s work as assistant choreographers on the project with helping bring Fagan’s signature dance style to Broadway.

“Their experience in dance education and choreography in addition to their dedication to Garth’s artistic vision guarantees that his legacy will live on through their leadership,” Taymor said in the press release.

Garth Fagan Dance’s next performances, presented as its “Home Showcase,” are December 8 through 10 at Monroe Community College Theatre. In addition to some classic Garth Fagan pieces, the show features premieres choreographed by Rogers-Cropper and Pennewell. garthfagan-dance.org

Daniel J. Kushner is an arts writer at CITY. He can be reached at [email protected].
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