Lowell Smith

Eglevsky Ballet
Dance Theatre of Harlem: Principal (1976-1993)

Lowell Smith was born in Memphis, Tennessee and received his training from North Carolina School of the Arts. He danced with Long Island’s Eglevsky Ballet before joining Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1976.
Smith was in the original DTH casts of Royston Maldoom’s Invasion (1978), Robert North’s Troy Game (1978), Carlos Carvajal’s Shapes of Evening (1978) and Secret Silence (1979), Choo San Goh’s Variations Serieuses (1978), George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments (1979) and Serenade (1979), Carmen de Lavallade’s Sensemaya (1979), Billy Wilson’s Mirage (The Games People Play) (1979), Glen Tetley’s Greening (1980), Michel Fokine’s Scheherazade (1981), Valerie Bettis’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1982), Geoffrey Holder’s Banda (1982), Domy Reiter-Soffer’s Equus: The Ballet (1982), David Lichine’s Graduation Ball (1983), Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend (1983), Frederic Franklin’s Sylvia Pas de Deux (1983), Loyce Houlton’s Wingborne (1983), Michael Smuin’s Songs of Mahler (1984) and A Song for Dead Warriors (1993), Creole Giselle (1984, at the London Coliseum), Garth Fagan’s Footprints Dressed in Red (1986), Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid (1988), Arthur Mitchell’s John Henry (1988), and Alvin Ailey’s The River (1993).
Smith danced the role of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire, which was filmed for PBS’s Dance in America series in 1986, and Hilarion in the film version of Creole Giselle.
When Arthur Mitchell announced DTH lay-offs in 1990, Smith began taking fashion illustration classes at the New School as well as acting classes. But he was able to return to the company before his retirement from DTH in 1993.
Smith choreographed A Pas de Deux for Phrygia and Spartacus for DTH in 2001, a performance which premiered at New York’s City Center and starred Melissa Morissey and Duncan Cooper.
Smith taught for many years at Broadway Dance Center and was involved with DTH’s school.
In 2007, Smith passed away at the age of 56 due to lung cancer. He is remembered as a dancer who “used precise mastery of classical ballet and exquisite expressiveness of body and face to convey emotions from tranquility to charged passion” (The New York Times, 2007).

Smith with Virginia Johnson in Vanity Fair.
Smith with Lorraine Graves in Creole Giselle. Photo via the Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives.

Leave a Reply