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Victor Anderson Passes

Cofounder of Shawl-Anderson Dance Center Led a Distinguised Career

Victor Virgil Anderson, cofounder of Berkeley’s Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, died Tuesday, February 7th. He was 88 years old.

A native of Salt Lake City, Anderson grew up in Oakland, California. Musically inclined, he started a USO company while in high school, and toured the Bay Area as its accompanist. His dance training included the San Francisco Ballet School and with Tatiana Svetlanova and Dorothy Pring in Berkeley.

To further his dance training, in 1950 he moved to New York, where he trained under leading dance teachers, such as Pavlova’s partner Aubrey Hitchins, Igor Schwezoff, Eugene Loring, Theodore Kosloff, Maria Baldina, and Vera Nemtchinova. He met his future cofounder Ted Shawl when they were both members of the New York dance company of May O’Donnell, one of Martha Graham’s leading soloists.

Anderson began teaching at the Grammercy School of Music and Dance, whose faculty also included Robert Joffrey and Norman Walker. His dance career included an appearance at Carnegie Hall with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, and several Broadway shows, including a Jerome Robbins production.

In 1958, Anderson and Shawl moved to the Bay Area where they opened the Shawl-Anderson Dance Center. In 1962, they founded the Shawl-Anderson Dance Company.

“Victor was a lifelong soul mate, the yin to my yang in life and work,” said Frank Shawl. “We couldn’t have created Shawl-Anderson without each other. He brought the joy of dance to thousands of people, and it’s comforting to know that as the Center moves into its next generations, his gentle, loving presence will shine brightly and show us all the way.”

A memorial is planned for March 9, 2017. The family asks that donations be made in his memory to the Victor Anderson Scholarship Fund at Shawl Anderson Dance Center. For more information, see shawl-anderson.org .

Loreena Feijoo Announces Retirement

Lorena FeijooPrincipal dancer of San Francisco Ballet, Loreena Feijoo, has announced her intention to retire at the end of the 2017 season. Cuban born Feijoo trained at Escuela Nacional de Ballet de Cuba. Her performances include dancing with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Ballet of Monterrey, Royal Ballet of Flanders, and The Joffrey Ballet. She joined San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer in 1999. In her 17 years with the Company, she has danced numerous major roles and performed in works by several celebrated choreographers.

In praising Feijoo's talent, Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson said, “In addition to her strength and beautiful technique, she is always the dancer who has an extra dose of passion and spirit—and that intensity draws your eye to her whenever she’s on stage."

There is no official word regarding Feijoo's post-retirement plans.

Update: On March 5 Lorena Feijoo and renowned choreographer Yuri Possokhov will appear in a Words on Dance live conversation and screening of rarely viewed film.

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Last modified: Friday, February 10, 2017 1:26 PM