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John Goding

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This is indeed sad news. John Goding was one of the original Washington Ballet dancers, one of Mary Day's pupils. His whole career was with that company, and he remained to stage ballets and choreograph after he retired from dancing. He created leading roles in several of Choo-San Goh's ballets. The company must be devastated by the loss -- sincere condolences to them, as well as to Mr. Goding's friends and family.

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From The Washington Ballet:


John Goding Devoted 30 Years as Featured Dancer, Ballet Master and Teacher

WASHINGTON, DC – The Washington Ballet (TWB) is mourning the loss of its long-time Ballet Master and friend, John Goding, who died suddenly while vacationing in Florida last week. According to doctors, he died of a pulmonary embolism. Mr. Goding had been an employee of the Ballet for more than 30 years. He was 50 years old.

Mr. Goding was named TWB Ballet Master in 1998 and went on to stage and rehearse many works in the Company’s repertoire. A featured dancer with TWB in the 1970s through 1998, Mr. Goding performed with renowned dancers such as Amanda McKerrow in leading roles created for him by Choo-San Goh, TWB’s first Artist-in-Residence. Mr. Goding originated roles in Birds of Paradise, In the Glow of the Night and Unknown Territory, as well as others in the classical and contemporary repertoire. He choreographed numerous works for the Company including Danzon, Mysteries and Rhapsody in Swing, all of which premiered at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Trained at the Woodbridge Ballet Arts School in Virginia and The Washington School of Ballet, he also studied at the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School.

Mr. Goding’s performances have been hailed for decades, with critics noting his expansive reach as a dancer, lauding everything from his partnering skills to his ability to bring to life some of the ballet world’s most beloved character roles.

In recent years, Mr. Goding received acclaim from audiences and ballet students for his classic performances in roles such as “Mr. Drosselmeyer” in TWB Artistic Director Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker and as Captain Hook in Mr. Webre’s Peter Pan. He was especially thrilled to portray “Madge” in Sorella Englund and Tomas Lundt’s staging of La Sylphide in February 2009 and had been eager to add the role of Don Quixote to his repertoire this fall.

“We are all stunned by the news of John’s passing,” said Mr. Webre. “John was more than a ballet master. He was a trusted friend and colleague who helped to shape almost every work performed by The Washington Ballet in the past three decades. The TWB family extends its deepest sympathies to John’s family and mourns this loss deeply.”

A memorial service is being planned for the fall; details will be released at a later time. A tribute page to Mr. Goding has been established on the Ballet’s website at www.washingtonballet.org, and TWB has set up a new email account, rememberingjgoding@washingtonballet.org, for those who wish to share memories of Mr. Goding. These thoughts will be collected and shared with his family.

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John joined us at WB in '77, 3 years after Nat'l Ballet of Washington folded. He came to WB after only 2 years of ballet instruction, & a degree in flute performance. He was just dripping with talent. He stepped right into Choo san Goh ballets with little instruction. We had a year and a half of preview seaons. We were all very excited about being a part of a true "choreographer's company", now as true (albeit under paid) professionals. John was a welcome addition. He never left, long after the rest of us had moved on, retired & left. But, John not only stayed through his retirement, but became ballet master. He died as ballet master. If there is an afterlife, john is sitting with Miss Day looking down upon us and planning the next move for Wb, beyond Septieme's knowledge...& laughing!

-Philip S. Rosemond, original company member, Washington Ballet.

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