Sanibel’s Melinda Roy to be honored at Lincoln Center
Melinda Roy, former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and current artistic director of Gulfshore Ballet in Fort Myers, will be presented with the prestigious Jerome Robbins Award on Sept. 30 at Lincoln Center in New York City. This prestigious award, named after worldrenowned Broadway producer, director and choreographer Jerome Robbins, will be awarded to 26 former and current
New York City Ballet ballerinas who worked with Mr. Robbins during their careers. The award will be presented by Chita Rivera, star of the movie “West Side Story,” one of Mr. Robbins most famous works, and will be followed by a performance of his ballet “West Side Story Suite.”
Ms. Roy joined the corps of the New York City Ballet in 1978. She was promoted to the role of soloist in 1984, and then to the rank of principal dancer in 1989.
Among her favorite leading roles were her performances in George Balanchine’s “Apollo,” “Brahms- Schoenberg Quartet,” “Divertimento No. 15,” “The Nutcracker,” and in Jerome Robbins’ “The Concert,” “Fancy Free,” “The Four Seasons,” “Gershwin Concerto,” “Goldberg Variations” and “Interplay.”
Ms. Roy also originated roles in Peter Martin’s “Waltz Project,” William Forseyth’s “Behind the China Dogs,” and Miriam Mahdaviani’s “The Newcomers.” She performed in China in 1980 with Jerome Robbins, as part of the government’s first cultural exchange program. She has also toured worldwide with Stars of American Ballet.
Ms. Roy retired from New York City Ballet in 1996. She moved to Sanibel in 2000 to found Gulfshore Ballet. In addition to her teaching responsibilities for Gulfshore Ballet, she has turned her choreographic skills to Broadway. Ms. Roy was choreographer for the Broadway version of the movie “Urban Cowboy,” for which she was nominated for a Tony in April 2003. Her other choreographic credits include the Broadway hit show “Master Harold and the Boys,” starring Danny Glover, “Paparazzi” with Tommy Tune, and an Encores Series production of “Can Can” for New York’s City Center starring Patty Lupone.
As the artistic leader of Gulfshore Ballet, Ms. Roy has made it possible for audiences in the Fort Myers region to see stars of the New York City Ballet perform in a yearly fundraiser called Bravo Ballet.
Ms. Roy and husband Roberto Muñoz are the founders and directors of Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, a ballet program that takes place in the month of June and July in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In 1970, Jerome Robbins, a preeminent figure in the dance and theater world, established The Jerome Robbins Foundation with the intent to support dance, theater and their associative arts. Before his death in 1998, Mr. Robbins expressed his wish that the foundation again extend its resources to the performing arts — dance and theater especially, but not exclusively — including what developed into The Jerome Robbins Award.
“I would like there to be established a prize to some really outstanding person or art institution,” explained Mr. Robbins in 1995.
Past recipients of the award are Jennifer Tipton, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, New York City Ballet, Brooklyn Academy of Music and San Francisco Ballet.
Jerome Robbins was the winner of five Tony awards, Two Academy awards, and was a Kennedy Center honoree.
His best known works include “Gypsy,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The King and I,” “The Pajama Game,” “Peter Pan” and “West Side Story,” among many others. ¦