Noted Memphis-born Dancer Lowell Dennis Smith Dies

| November 05, 2007
Lowell Dennis Smith
Lowell Dennis Smith
Lowell Dennis Smith, a ballet dancer and teacher who for some years was a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and later was director of the company's school, died October 22 at UCLA Medical Center. He was 56.

The cause of death was lung cancer, said his longtime friend Rick Frey. Smith had been dividing his time between Los Angeles and New York City.

Born in 1951 in Memphis, he studied dance at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and then performed as a dancer and actor in Memphis and later with the Eglevsky Ballet on Long Island, New York.

He joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem in the late 1970s and danced with the company for 17 years. One of his best known roles was as Stanley Kowalski in a dance adaptation by Valerie Bettis of the Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Read more about Smith at the Los Angeles Times website.


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Lowell was an incredible teacher! My favorite! I just found out yesterday (On Sunday October 31st 2011) that he had passed away. I am very sad to hear this news. He had a magnetic presence, always very charming, sometimes strict but combined it with his incredible funny quips and made the class laugh a lot. His class was the most fun and he always attracted a full to capacity class even though it was at 8Pm. i just miss him so much. i did get to have a nice one on one conversation with him on something other than ballet. I had gone to the schools office and he had walked in just behind me. We talked about something which had made the headlines in the papers and we both had the same views on it. It somehow stuck with me, because most other teachers, even if they did have a conversation with student would probably discuss some aspect or vein related to ballet. I felt this incredible warmth and sincerity from Lowell and that is one reason I never missed his evening class (twice a week) and neither did majority of the other regulars. That was Lowelll's charisma, you wanted to be in that class because he made it special with his majestic presence and teaching technique. That afternoon was the last time I saw him as he was not going to be teaching in this New York school anymore and was in the office to collect his last check. This was ,maybe about 5 or 6 years ago. i have such fond memories about him and my heart aches so much at this sad news. He died to young. My sincere condolences to his family and loved ones and I would like you all to know that he was a very popular teacher , very loved by his students and extremely tops at teaching ballet. He was special. I love you Lowell and I miss you and want to tell you i am so happy that I had the honor to be in your presence all those evening for a few years You will always be remembered. Love -a

Posted by karma on 11/02/2011 at 1:05 AM
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