Ballet director and teacher Wendy Robinson dies at 53


Wendy Robinson, 53, a ballet teacher who became a fixture i the Baltimore dance community during the last 15 years, died Saturday in her home in Mount Washington after a long struggle with cancer.

Ms. Robinson, who most recently worked on the dance faculty of the Peabody Preparatory Division of the Peabody Institute, was known for her wit and warmth in the classroom and her indepth knowledge of the British method of classical ballet, known as the Royal Academy of Dancing, which she learned in her native England.

Before her appointment at Peabody in 1985, she worked for nine years as the director of the Maryland Ballet School (later named the Baltimore Ballet School). When the company folded in 1985, Peabody hired Ms. Robinson.

"What Wendy loved was living," said Fran G. Zarubick, the dean of the preparatory division, who hired Ms. Robinson. "She loved to share of herself, particularly with young people."

Ms. Zarubick said Ms. Robinson enjoyed educating young people about life and about dancing.

"Dancing was the way she saw the world," she said. "She saw pictures and translated that into movement."

During her tenure at the Maryland/Baltimore ballet, Ms. Robinson choreographed many children's ballets, in addition to teaching classes.

She worked for the Baltimore Opera Company, choreographing for several operas, including "Eugene Onegin," "Macbeth," "La Traviata" and "Faust."

Before coming to Baltimore, Ms. Robinson taught the English method of ballet in Lima, Peru, and in Los Angeles. She also acted as an extra in many films, including "Cleopatra," "Ben Hur," The Bible" and "Oh Charleston."

Born in London, Ms. Robinson was trained at the Sadlers Wells School and later danced with the Sadlers Wells Opera at Covent Garden and with the Sadlers Wells Ballet Company.

Survivors include her daughter, Susan Maciel of Orlando, Fla.

Anthony Calon, a colleague, student and friend of Robinson, is planning an endowed dance scholarship in her memory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be sent to the Peabody Preparatory, Wendy Robinson Endowed Scholarship Fund, c/o Dean Fran G. Zarubick, 21 E. Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore 21202.

There will be no funeral. Peabody officials, friends and relatives are planning a memorial service to be announced at a later date.

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