Charles Augins, born to Mary and James Augins ca. 1944 in Arlington, Virginia, started tap-dancing at the Arlington Recreation Department when he was nine years old. At age 15, he began his ballet training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet before entering New York’s Harkness Ballet School. In 1964, he appeared with the Capitol Ballet performing the choreography of Doris Jones.
After serving as the dance director at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts from 1973 to 1977 and assistant to Louis Johnson for Treemonisha on Broadway in 1975, Augins moved to London to perform in and serve as assistant choreographer for Bubbling Brown Sugar on the West End.
As a choreographer, he created work for UK productions Twelfth Night at the Old Vic, The Fix, and Chorus Girls, as well as working with Sting, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Mick Jagger. He, along with Jack Levin, established the American School for the Performing Arts on Drury Lane in London and taught ballet and jazz.
Regarding Europe, Augins noted the opportunities available to him, “In Europe, I can teach, I can choreograph, I can do television, I can do theater,” though he missed the “blackness” of Washington DC.
In 1990, Augins and Clarke Peters created Five Guys Named Moe, for which Augins won the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer. Augins returned to the US when the production was brought to Broadway and earned a Tony nomination.
Augins is currently the chair of the dance department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.