He had a long illness, said Michael Kaiser, the executive director of the Ailey company.
Mr. DeLoatch was the company's finest dramatic dancer. Tall, rangy and handsome, he could be sweetly innocent and slyly funny at the same time, but was even more compelling in searing dramatic roles, chief among them Charlie (Bird) Parker in Alvin Ailey's "For Bird: With Love," a part Mr. Ailey created for him. On His Portrayals
He brought an almost casual conviction to parts that ranged from the prayerful, sensual monk in "Hermit Songs," a solo Mr. Ailey had created for himself, to a variety of elegant dudes, sympathetic acolytes and zany, uninhibitedly exuberant street-corner lotharios. But Mr. DeLoatch did not seem able to play a thorough villain. His drug dealer in "The Stack-Up," a dance by Talley Beatty, was as touchingly pitiable as he was snakelike.
"There is something very real in Mr. DeLoatch's stage presence," Anna Kisselgoff, the senior dance critic of The New York Times, wrote in 1988 in a review of "Tell It Like It Is," a solo created for the dancer by Kelvin Rotardier in a program presented by the Ailey company to celebrate Mr. DeLoatch's 10th year with the troupe. "We believe in the characters he creates, in the drama he evokes with gestures he draws out of street life, in the contemporary flavor of his impressive dance technique. His physique projects power and yet the final image with which he often leaves us is that of vulnerability."
Mr. DeLoatch was born in Philadelphia and was an athlete and gymnast in high school. He received his early dance training from Faye Snow and from Joan Kerr at the Settlement School of Music in Philadelphia. In New York City, he studied at Dance Theater of Harlem. When he was 19, Mr. DeLoatch performed with the George Faison Universal Dance Experience and with companies that included the Chamber Dance Group. When the Ailey company took several of Mr. Faison's dances into its repertory, Mr. DeLoatch came along as a rehearsal director. By 1979, a year after he joined the company as a dancer, Mr. DeLoatch was attracting attention in many solo roles.
Mr. DeLoatch also appeared in the Broadway and film versions of "The Wiz." Though not a prolific choreographer, he began creating dances early in his career and choreographed pieces for companies that included the Ailey senior and junior troupes. He was an adept children's teacher and led many Ailey outreach programs and performances. Mr. DeLoatch also taught Ailey company classes.
He is survived by his companion, Stephen Smith of New York.
The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations by Michael M. Kaiser
Hardcover: 204 pages
Publisher: Brandeis (September 30, 2008)
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Many arts organizations today find themselves in financial difficulties because of economic constraints inherent in the industry. While other companies can improve productivity through the use of new technologies or better systems, these approaches are not available in the arts. Hamlet requires the same number of performers today as it did in Shakespeare's time. The New York Philharmonic requires the same number of musicians now as it did when Tchaikovsky conducted it over one hundred years ago. Costs go up, but the size of theaters and the price resistance of patrons limit what can be earned from ticket sales. Therefore, the performing arts industry faces a severe gap between earnings and expenses. Typical approaches to closing the gap--raising ticket prices or cutting artistic or marketing expenses--don't work.
What, then, does it take to create and maintain a healthy arts organization?
Michael M. Kaiser has revived four major arts organizations: the Kansas City Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and London's Royal Opera House. In The Art of the Turnaround he shares with readers his ten basic rules for bringing financially distressed arts organizations back to life and keeping them strong. These rules cover the requirements for successful leadership, the pitfalls of cost cutting, the necessity of extending the programming calendar, the centrality of effective marketing and fund raising, and the importance of focusing on the present with a positive public message. In chapters organized chronologically, Kaiser brings his ten rules vividly to life in discussions of the four arts organizations he is credited with saving. The book concludes with a chapter on his experiences at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, an arts organization that needed an artistic turnaround when he became the president in 2001 and that today exemplifies in practice many of the ten rules he discusses throughout his book.
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