Butler, John

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Butler, John

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John Butler was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1920 and was raised in Greenwood, Mississippi. At the age of eighteen, he was offered a scholarship to work with Martha Graham, who insisted that he also join the School of American Ballet. He first performed on Broadway in 1943 and continued to perform on Broadway and in New York night clubs during and after the time he danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company between 1945 and 1955. He also began choreographing dance performances for television. He later worked for the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. During this time, he also founded the John Butler Dance Theatre. He was named the dance director of the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1958. The John Butler Dance Theatre disbanded about ten years later and John became a freelance choreographer. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has performed several of his ballets, including Labyrinth, and Sebastian. He received a Dance Magazine Award in 1965. John Butler passed away in September of 1993 in Manhattan, New York.


Memphis, Tennessee
Greenwood, Mississippi
New York, New York

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  • English



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