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R.I.P Jana Fugate Cummings

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Obituary - http://www.gazettenet.com/2011/02/02/jana-fugate-cummings-dancer-teacher

Jana's ballet training began at the prestigious School of American Ballet (school for the New York City Ballet) in NYC. Upon graduating, she began performing as a soloist/principal dancer with The Albany Berkshire Ballet (Albany, N.Y./ Pittsfield, Mass.) where she danced leading roles in classic ballets including "Romeo and Juliet" and "Coppelia," as well as having numerous roles created specifically for her. She performed in major cities including New York and Chicago. She was singled out by critics for her "extraordinary technique and unique and passionate presence."

A sought-after teacher throughout the United States, Jana was recently a guest instructor at Smith College in Northampton. Locally, she taught, choreographed and coached at the Amherst Ballet, East Street Studios, the Pioneer Valley Ballet and Deerfield Academy. At Deerfield Academy, Jana celebrated and honored graduating seniors by tailoring each piece to the individual student, as well as choreographing for the entire Deerfield Academy dance program. In collaboration with her mother, Dorothy, Jana designed and built the costumes for most of her ballets.

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I'm so sorry to hear this. I have a very happy memory of a summer workshop at Mme. Darvash's studio in the mid-80s. Her sister Jody was teaching us Valse-Fantasie and there was probably an uneven number of men and women, so Jana came up and I got to dance it with her.

She was barely in her fifties. I'm sure a lot of people will miss her.

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I was so sorry to read this. Jana Fugate staged Circus Polka for PNB several years ago, and my daughter had the opportunity to dance as a Circus Polka girl. Miss Fugate later gave each of the girls a handwritten note thanking them for the good job that they did. My daughter kept the note in her scrapbook and will cherish the memory. Our condolences to all her loved ones.

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