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David Blackburn, RIP

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An obituary for David Blackburn, who has died at age 76.

By the time McLain died in 1984, Blackburn had become Cincinnati Ballet’s assistant artistic director.

Blackburn was outgoing and outspoken, which made his leadership style a perfect complement to that of McLain, who was quiet and introspective. But it was a trait that occasionally caused Blackburn some difficulties, as well. Less than a month after McLain’s death, the president of the Cincinnati Ballet’s board asked him for his resignation. Over the years, it seemed that Blackburn had crossed swords with too many influential board members.

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I was hired by his partner, Cincinnati Ballet AD, David McClain who died in 1986. I danced at CBC until 1989. If there is a word I could describe David Blackburn, it would be "Jolly". Even when things weren't going well, David was Jolly. He allowed me to substitute for his classes. The Pre-Ballet (what they called ballet 1 thru 3) at the CCM were the 8 through 10 year olds. They loved him. You could tell. They reacted to every command. As a associate director, David didn't do much in the way of coaching or staging. But, he did create a livelier atmosphere when times were rough - even for the short while after his partner our boss, died. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him.

I hope some more CBC alum from the late 60s through 80s respond to this. It would be good to read their thoughts.


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