Capezio Dance AwardCynthia Gregory

(Photo credit: Photo by Virginia Trudeau)


For Immediate Release       Press Contact:  Shelley Lipton/ Lipton Publicity  212-750-6654/


The Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of Cynthia Gregory as the recipient of the 63nd annual Capezio Dance Award.  The Foundation is a philanthropic organization funded by the world’s premier dance and apparel manufacturer, Capezio Ballet Makers.

Awarded annually since 1952, the Capezio Dance Award recognizes significant contributions to American dance by an individual, company or institution. It is awarded to those who bring respect, stature and distinction to dance and who exhibit qualities such as innovation, creativity and imagination. Since Miss Gregory now resides in Las Vegas, this year's award will be presented in that city at the Smith Center on November 17th.

Cynthia Gregory, whom Nu­reyev called “Amer­ica’s prima balle­rina as­solu­ta,” was celebrated as one of the world’s greatest ballerinas during a career that spanned more than a quarter of a century. Much of Miss Gregory’s early train­ing was in her native Los Angeles with Car­me­lita Maracci. Awarded a Ford Founda­tion schol­ar­ship at age 14 to study with Lew Christensen’s  San Fran­cis­co Bal­let, she quickly rose to solo­ist and then princi­pal status in that company while also dancing with the San Fran­cisco Opera.

Miss Gregory joined Amer­ican Bal­let Thea­tre in 1965. In 1967, when ABT was on tour in San Fran­cisco, Miss Gregory made an au­spi­cious de­but as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake. Her New York de­but in the dual role lat­er the same year marked her emer­gence as a major bal­leri­na.

Miss Gregory danced in more than 80 works at ABT. Her classical repertoire included lead roles in Gis­elle, The Sleep­ing Beauty, Coppélia, Raymonda, La Bayadère, Don Qui­xote and La Syl­phide. She also danced in such notable twentieth-century ballets as Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Apollo and Prodigal Son, Tudor’s Jardin aux Lilas and Dark Elegies, DeMille’s Fall River Legend, Tetley’s Voluntaries and Gemini, Limon’s The Moor’s Pavanne and Culberg’s Miss Julie. Roles created for her include Feld’s Harbinger and At Midnight, Ailey’s The River, Tharp’s Bach Partita, Smuin’s The Eternal Idol and Nahat’s Brahms Quintet.

Miss Gregory performed as a guest with many of the great dance companies of the world, including Na­tion­al Ballet of Cana­da, Zu­rich State Opera Bal­let, San Fran­cisco Ballet, Vi­enna State Op­era Ballet, Bal­let Naci­onal de Cuba, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires and Stutt­gart, Munich and Berlin State Opera Ballets. A few of her favorite partners were Rudolf Nureyev, Erik Bruhn, Fernando Bujones, and Big Bird on a PBS special fundraiser.

Miss Gregory was the re­cipient of the 1975 Dance Maga­zine Awa­rd, the Hark­ness Ballet Founda­tion’s first an­nual Dance Award, and two an­nual awards from Dance Edu­ca­tors of Amer­ica—in 1981 and 1988. The New York Public Li­brary desig­nat­ed her a “Lion of the Per­form­ing Arts” in 1989 and she re­ceived the lifetime achieve­ment Cer­tifi­cate of Mer­it from the National Arts Club in 1991. Hofstra Uni­versi­ty awarded Miss Gregory an honorary Doc­tor of Humane Let­ters degree in 1993, and she received an honorary doctorate from State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York–Purchase College in 1995.

Miss Gregory is the au­thor of two books, Bal­let is the Best Exer­cise and her chil­dren’s book, Cyn­thia Greg­ory Dances Swan Lake. In 1991, Miss Gregory became Chair­man of the Board of Career Transition for Dancers, a not-for-profit organization that provides valuable services free of charge to dancers who are changing careers. To this day she continues her involvement in the role of Chairman Emeritus. Eager to pass on her knowledge, passion and wisdom to future generations, Miss Gregory coaches, stages ballets, and gives master classes for dance companies and schools in the U.S. and internationally.  She also enjoys expressing herself in pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings.  Her work has been shown at the Gallery at Lincoln Center, at art shows in New York and Connecticut, and on greeting cards, posters and CD covers. When all is said and done, her favorite role is the proud mother of Lloyd Gregory Miller.

Lisa Giacoio Egan, the President of the Capezio Ballet Makers Dance Foundation says of Cynthia Gregory, "Miss Gregory's body of work has brought great pleasure and inspiration to so many audiences worldwide. Her long and illustrious career and tremendous talent  has made an enormous impact in the field of dance. We are thrilled to be presenting our 63rd award to the very deserving, Cynthia Gregory."