MADAME PHYLLIS LATIN

Choreographer and Artistic Director of Pater Olympian

at the National Museum of Dance

99 South Broadway

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

 


Phyllis Latin was born in Kansas where she began her study of dance at the age of two due to a birth injury. Her teacher, Hildegarde Fritche-Lewis, was a physical therapist as well as a teacher of classical ballet and modern dance. Latin was dancing major roles in the Fritche-Lewis Dance Company by the time she was twelve. She danced in the St. Louis Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and performed for President Truman before her thirteenth birthday. After graduating from high school she left for New York to continue her studies at the School of American Ballet where she auditioned for George Balanchine’s company. Not wanting to join the company as a corps de ballet member she left for Europe and performed as a guest artist for two years.

Upon returning to the United States, Latin appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows and worked with Jerome Robbins Ballet USA. She toured the United States doing special concerts in major theaters before getting seriously injured in an automobile accident in her early twenties. She spent endless months in hospitals, and a frustrating time in a wheel chair. During that time Alexandra Danilova, a former teacher, suggested that she teach and advised her to put the same determination into becoming a great teacher that she had into becoming a great dancer. Phyllis Latin had no intention of teaching. Her dream was to become one of the greatest dancers that ever lived. After three years of not dancing she realized her dream was not going to happen. It was then that she decided to take Madame Danilova’s advice and her teaching career began.

Madame Latin began her teaching career in Reading, Pennsylvania. In addition to teaching ballet she choreographed summer stock for Brandywine Music Theater and the Reading Opera Company, and taught ballet at Albright College. She moved from Pennsylvania to New York City and opened another ballet school with two other teachers in the Carnegie Hall building. Having recovered sufficiently from her automobile accident she began to study other dance forms, sculpting, stage design, costume design, and theatrical make-up application.

Desiring to stretch her creative abilities Latin worked as assistant to the producer of the feature film, “The Incident,” filmed at Biograph Studios in the Bronx. Upon completion of that film she became the head of Crewe Film Co., a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Latin held that position before moving to Saratoga Springs.

In Saratoga Springs Madame Latin opened the American Dance Center, founded the Saratoga Ballet Company, founded the Saratoga County Arts Council, wrote the dance degree program for the first graduating dance degree student for Empire State College, received a CETA grant for dancers, ballet master, and accompanist, was the official teacher for the Canadian Ballet Association, choreographed for local theater groups, had an international boarding school for dance students from Europe, Canada, Panama, and South America, as well as the United States. Madame Latin travelled to South America, France, and England to teach master classes, in addition to teaching seminars and master classes throughout the United States.

In May 1993, Mayor Almeda C. Dake honored Madame Latin for devoting her life to the art of dance and for serving the community as performer, choreographer, critic, teacher, and goodwill ambassador...and for consistently presenting to her students and audiences artistic works of exceptional quality and merit while gaining the appreciation of dance enthusiasts throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe. Mayor Dake continued to honor the many artistic achievements of Phyllis Latin and her positive contributions to the performing arts and to the City of Saratoga Springs.

In February 2000, through a mutual friend, Madame Latin was introduced to Bob Hoffman. After agreeing to collaborate on several fronts - and soon becoming good friends - Madame agreed to assist Bob in accomplishing his long-time goal…to bring Pater Olympian the magnitude of choreography the story and music deserved, and to stage Pater Olympian somewhere in the world at the earliest possible time. Madame Latin assumed the position of Choreographer and Artistic Director of Pater Olympian - and with Bob - worked tirelessly on the program in Saratoga Springs and in Moscow…and after overcoming seemingly overwhelming odds, the world premiere of Pater Olympian took place in Moscow on December 6, 2002.

On December 24, 2002, Madame Latin was honored by Mayor Kenneth Klotz of Saratoga Springs for dedicating more than 30 years to the development and promotion of dance in Saratoga Springs. In addition, Mayor Klotz expressed admiration for Latin’s efforts in promoting intercultural collaboration between groups like the Russian and American dancers who had joined together on stage just a few weeks earlier that month in the performances in Moscow.

From 2003 and until the present day, Madame Latin has rededicated herself to her beloved teaching of dance classes – principally classical ballet - at her American Dance Center located in recent years at the historic National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Madame Latin is the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of six. She resides in Saratoga Springs, N. Y. and continues to choreograph for her company and other companies. In addition she enjoys counseling young aspiring dancers. In the more than forty professional years Phyllis Latin has been in Saratoga Springs, she has produced as many as forty professional dancers. These dancers have entered professional ballet companies, television, Broadway theater, motion pictures, modern dance companies, and touring jazz companies.

Madame Latin's website is : www.americandancecentersaratoga.com