The Dance World Remembers "Uncle David"

David Howard on the January 2001 cover

David Howard's passing has dealt an emotional blow to the dance world, particularly to his many students and fellow staff members at New York City's Steps on Broadway. "We are bereft," says Steps' co-artistic managing director Diane Grumet. "A tremendous loss to the dance world, a tremendous gift to the world while he was with us."

Howard's Facebook fan page, where he signed a 2012 Christmas post from "Uncle David," is overflowing with dancers' comments and photos of the teacher who shaped countless lives during his career. Among his most well-known students are Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov and, of course, Gelsey Kirkland. In January 2001 DT, Howard shared how he worked closely with the feisty Kirkland to "completely retrain" her. “She was fabulous because she would say, ‘I want to do it my way, not their way,’" he said. "She was a rebel, but because of her talent she could get away with it.”

Do you have a story or a memory of David Howard you'd like to share? Comment below, or e-mail editor Kristin Schwab, kschwab@dancemedia.com.

Cover photo by Paul B. Goode

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