Banner commemorates 50 years of Garth Fagan Dance |

Banner commemorates 50 years of Garth Fagan Dance

Emily Putnam
Created: June 25, 2021 06:14 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The world-renowned Garth Fagan Dance company celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday by unveiling a new banner on Chestnut Street in Downtown Rochester.

The massive 32 by 12-foot banner hangs on the west-facing wall of the Miller Center building, part of the Eastman School of Music campus. The location is fitting as the dance company and the music school have collaborated on many projects in the past. 

The banner project was nearly a year in the making and came to life on Friday at a press conference attended by 81-year-old founder Garth Fagan, dance company members and directors, Mayor Lovely Warren, and presumptive mayor Malik Evans. 

"We started this project back in August of 2020 and it's here now," said Carvin Eison, general manager of Rochester Community TV who was instrumental in executing this project and calls Garth Fagan his “older brother.”

The banner says “50 years,” but it’s actually been 51. Plans to unveil the banner were delayed because of the pandemic. 

"Yes, Covid has happened but I assure you we have a plan,” said Natalie Rogers-Cropper, longtime company member and School Director at Garth Fagan Dance. “We are not going to be beat down for any reason."

Rogers-Cropper’s picture appears on the banner alongside dancer Norwood Pennewell. 

Fagan has won many awards during his career including the Tony and the Olivier, and he was praised Friday for the immense body of work he has created over his five-decade career. 

"Imagine an artist, a musician, creating 68 albums, which is what he did,” Eison said. “68 dances with 5, 6, 7 sections to each dance, so do the math on that."

Organizers say that the company’s dancers will be back onstage soon. 

"We're not going anywhere,” Rogers-Cropper said. “I am here to testify that this is only the beginning of a new era."

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