Ballet legend Cynthia Gregory, Nevada Ballet Theatre’s artistic coach, will receive the 63rd annual Capezio Dance Award Nov. 17 at The Smith Center.
Presented annually since 1952, the Capezio Dance Award recognizes significant contributions to American dance.
It’s hardly Gregory’s first accolade, however; she’s also the recipient of the 1975 Dance Magazine Award, the Harkness Ballet Foundation’s first annual Dance Award and 1981 and 1988 two awards from Dance Educators of America. In 1989, the New York Public Library named her a “Lion of the Performing Arts” and she received the National Arts Club’s lifetime-achievement Certificate of Merit in 1991.
Hailed by onetime partner Rudolf Nureyev as “America’s prima ballerina assoluta,” Gregory, now 68, danced for 26 years with American Ballet Theatre, performing more than 80 works at ABT, from such classical ballets as “Swan Lake” and “Giselle” to 2oth-century works including Balanchine’s “Theme and Variations,” “Apollo” and “Prodigal Son.”
In addition to NBT, Gregory has performed with dance companies around the world, including the National Ballet of Canada, the San Francisco Ballet, the Vienna State Opera Ballet and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
Gregory’s “body of work has brought great pleasure and inspiration to so many audiences worldwide,” Lisa Giacoio Egan, president of Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, stated in a news release announcing the award. “Her long and illustrious career and tremendous talent has made an enormous impact in the field of dance.”
That impact extends beyond her performing career; Gregory has written two books, “Ballet is the Best Exercise” and a children’s book, “Cynthia Gregory Dances Swan Lake.” In 1991, she became chairman of the nonprofit Career Transition for Dancers (she’s now chairman emeritus), which provides free services to dancers changing careers. And she coaches, stages ballets and gives master classes for dance companies and schools in the U.S. and around the world — including NBT, which she joined in 2010.