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About John Magnus


John Magnus was born in South Africa and received his early training at the University of Cape Town Ballet School. In 1980, he moved to the United States and served as Ballet Master for the Nevada Dance Theatre and also taught for the New Jersey Ballet School and Company.


In 1986 he was invited to join the Joffrey Ballet School faculty and was privileged to be the last teacher hired by Robert Joffrey before Joffrey’s death in 1988. While on faculty with the Joffrey School he taught the Joffrey Ballet Company and Metropolitan Opera Ballet.


In 1996 Mr. Magnus was named Artistic Director of the Joffrey Midwest Summer Workshop by the Joffrey Ballet School Director, Edith D’Addario. The workshop was renamed Magnus Midwest Dance in July 2009 to honor his vision and leadership.


In 2005 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet School and created a full length Nutcracker reviewed by the New York Times as “glorious and sweetly inventive”.


In 2009, Mr. Magnus accepted the position of Artistic Director with Portland Festival Ballet and the Magnus Northwest Dance Summer program was established in 2013.


Magnus was ultimately Artistic Director of Magnus Dance in Milford, Pennsylvania. He was also co-director of San Gorgonio Ballet and president of American Readers Theatre, a not-for-profit organization promoting literacy through the Arts.


Mr. Magnus created numerous choreographic works for companies throughout the United States, notably his final work for Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, Rapsodia Cubana, the piece which closed the 2015 SERBA Festival.


Magnus passed away on June 16th.  He is greatly missed by all who knew him.


(with text from Joffrey Ballet and others

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