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Carol Paumgarten. Photo courtesy Steps

Carol Paumgarten, founder of Steps on Broadway, the renowned studio and hub of the international dance community on New York City's Upper West Side, died on September 24 following an extended illness. She is survived by her husband, Nicholas, her sons, Nicholas Jr. and Alexander, and four grandchildren.

Paumgarten, alongside Patrice Soriero, opened Steps' first studio in 1979 at 56th and Broadway. Steps expanded in 1981 to include a ballet division, moving to a space that had previously housed the Melissa Hayden School. In 1984, Paumgarten guided Steps' relocation to 2121 Broadway, where the multi-studio facility continues to operate today.

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Photo by Kyle Froman

When Steps on Broadway founder Carol Paumgarten called Joe Lanteri several times in a row in February 2018, his first guess was that she wanted to get him back on the faculty roster. "For decades, I taught jazz at 4:30 pm at Steps," he says, "but a couple years ago, I had to let go of that class to free up some time."

To Lanteri's surprise, Paumgarten told him she was ready to move away from her place at Steps' helm. He was on her list of possible successors. "When she brought it up, I laughed," he says. "My life was already so full. But it took about 10 seconds for me to know I had to seriously consider it. Steps on Broadway is such an important part of the footprint of New York. It had to continue—and it had to remain recognizably Steps."

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