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By Dance Insider Staff
Copyright 2002 The Dance Insider

NEW YORK -- Stephanie Reinhart, who for nine years shared leadership of the most important modern dance festival in the world as co-director of the American Dance Festival with her husband Charles Reinhart, passed away Monday morning at Mount Sinai Hospital at the age of 58. The cause was leukemia, said Mr. Reinhart.

Stephanie Reinhart, co-director of the American Dance Festival, passed away September 23, 2002. Bernard Thomas photo courtesy ADF.

While Mr. Reinhart had no further comment at presstime, Carlton Midyette, of the ADF board of directors, said Monday, "Modern Dance and the arts in general have lost a friend and a powerful ally today. She was at the peak of her career and abilities as a mother, wife and all things cultural, especially dance."

Ms. Reinhart, who joined the ADF in 1977, recently was honored with a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by France for her contributions to dance. Also this year, she won an Emmy award as executive producer of the heralded PBS series "Free to Dance," a chronicle of the Black dance experience in America.

As co-director of the ADF, Ms. Reinhart played a critical role in nurturing the development of modern dance in America, and, indeed, around the world.

"Stephanie Reinhart was both an anchor and a guiding light for the dance field," said LaRue Allen, executive director of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, an ADF regular. "The breadth of her work was immense and the depth of her concern for the artists she worked with seemed limitless. She will be missed."

During her long association with the ADF, Ms. Reinhart was also instrumental in discovering artists from abroad and exposing them to American audiences, as well as nurturing nascent modern dance communities in Russia. Her travels to France with Charles Reinhart in 1982, at the invitation of the Festival of Dance in Aix en Provence, resulted in a pioneering festival of French modern dance at the ADF. In 1980, Ms. Reinhart made her first of many trips to Asia in search of dance companies and dance artists to introduce to American audiences at the ADF. The major troupes that she and Charles Reinhart brought to the U.S. for the first time include the Japanese Butoh company Dai Rakuda Kan, in 1982, and the Guandong Modern Dance Company, China's first modern dance company, in 1991.

Ms. Reinhart played an integral role in the initiation and development of ADF's vast international programs, including its creation of mini-ADFs in Russia and elsewhere abroad and the Festival's International Choreographers' Commissioning Program, which began in the 1980s and was responsible for bringing over 75 artists from around the world to study at and create new work at the ADF. The ADF thus became not just a locus for American modern dance choreographes and students, but for an international community of modern dance choreographers hungry for the collegial atmosphere of the ADF. In 1993, she was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study the history of modern dance in Argentina.

Her work in dance began long before her association with the ADF, and extended beyond it. In 1996, the Reinharts were made co-artistic directors for dance at the Kennedy Center. In 1969, as program administrator for the National Endowment for the Arts's Dance and Education programs, Ms. Reinhart worked on the planning and development of the Artists-in-the Schools Program. In 1975, the NEA published Ms. Reinhart's article on sculptor Ruth Asawa and her community art program in San Francisco. Ms. Reinhart also contributed to the books "East Meets West in Dance: Voices in the Cross-Cultural Dialogue" and "Dancing Female: Lives and Issues of women in Contemporary Dance."

An honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin in cultural history, Ms. Reinhart received a fellowship for graduate studies in American literary and cultural history from George Washington University and attended the Harvard University Summer Institute in Arts Administration.

In addition to her husband, Charles L. Reinhart, Ms. Reinhart is survived by her daughter, the dancer and singer Ariane Malia Reinhart, her mother Florence Keren, and three stepsons: Dr. Adam Reinhart of Honolulu, Taylor Reinhart of Los Angeles, CA, and Scott Reinhart of Geneseo, NY, as well as three step grandchildren: Chelsea, Taylor and Jeremy Reinhart.

The American Dance Festival has established an ADF Stephanie Reinhart Fund for New Works and Scholarships. A celebration of Stephanie Reinhart's life will take place in a few months, said a festival spokesperson.

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