Ballet dancer

Ebullient City ballet dancer Albert Evans dies at 46

Albert Evans, a retired New York City Ballet principal dancer who was praised by critics and sought after by choreographers for his almost singular combination of fluid elegance and sinewy musculature, died Monday in Manhattan. He was 46 years old.

His death, at Mount Sinai Hospital, was announced by the society, which said only that it followed a short illness.

Mr. Evans joined City Ballet in 1988 and was named Soloist in 1991 and Principal four years later, becoming the second black dancer in the company’s history to hold this position. The first one, Arthur Mitchellnow 81, performed with City Ballet in the 1950s and 1960s, and in 1969 helped found the Dance Theater of Harlem.

After retiring from the stage in 2010, Mr Evans remained at City Ballet as ballet master, a position he held when he died. He was also a choreographer, a vocation he began to pursue while still an active dancer.

Mr. Evans, who often teamed up with ballerina Wendy Whelan, was equally at home in classical and contemporary repertoire. Prodigiously powerful – with a quick start, he had a vertical leap of six feet – he could mold his body into any shape, angular or curvy, a dance required.

“Mr. Evans moves like few others of his generation,” critic Claudia La Rocco wrote in The New York Times in 2006.

Although he never worked directly with George Balanchine, who died in 1983, Mr. Evans was best known as a performer of this choreographer’s work. His roles in Balanchine’s ballets include the Horseman in his “Nutcracker”, Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”» and Phlegmatic in « The Four Temperaments ».

Mr. Evans has also danced starring roles in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Romeo + Juliet’, both choreographed by City Ballet’s Head Ballet Master Peter Martins; Afternoon of a Faun by Jerome Robbins; and that of Robert La Fosse “Concerto in five movements”, among other works.

Albert Pierce Evans was born in Atlanta on December 29, 1968. In elementary school, he saw a television production of “The Nutcracker” and was enamored.

“I told my mom it was something I wanted to do,” Mr Evans told Newsday in 1995. “She looked at me and gave me this eye, like, why the hell would you you being a dancer, running around in tights, flying around the stage?”

But she gave in and young Albert took ballet and modern dance lessons from Annette Lewis, who had trained with Martha Graham. He then studied in Atlanta with the famous ballet teacher Patsy Bromley.

At 13, he won a place in the summer session of the American Ballet School, the training academy of City Ballet. As an older teenager, he returned to New York to attend school full time.

In 1988, while Mr. Evans was still a student there, Eliot Feld engaged him in “The unanswered questiona ballet to music by Charles Ives, which he choreographed for the American Music Festival, a three-week extravaganza that City Ballet performed that year at Lincoln Center.

For the same festival, choreographer William Forsythe chose Mr. Evans to replace an injured dancer in his punk-tinged ballet, “Behind the Chinese Dogs.” Mr. Evans joined City Ballet soon after.

Mr. Evans’ work as a choreographer includes “Haiku», on the music of John Cage, and «Broken promiseto music by American composer Mathew Fuerst. Both were performed by the City Ballet.

Mr. Evans’ survivors include his mother, Annie Robinson; four sisters, June Robinson, Marguerite Morgan-Cargo, Tiffany Evans and Keisha Evans; and six brothers, Stanley Robinson, Daryl Robinson, Kenneth Robinson, Gregory Evans, Alfonzo Evans and Samuel Evans.

Throughout his career, Mr. Evans has been widely praised for his warmth. Obviously, it was an attribute that applied to him on stage and off, although he himself was circumspect about it.

“People should know you from the stage, not from your life,” Mr. Evans said in the Newsday interview. “If someone can figure out who you are from the scene, that’s it.”