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Dance community mourns loss of Danny Tidwell

Danny Tidwell.
Danny Tidwell.

Danny Tidwell, a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) and former dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), died on March 6, at the age of 35. The cause of Tidwell’s death, according to his adoptive brother and fellow dancer Travis Wall, was a car crash. 

The dance world is mourning the loss of this bright, talented dancer. In an Instagram post, Wall wrote, “My heart is broken. Yesterday, I lost a brother. And we all lost a gift. I’m not ready. But I never think I will be. Because I can’t believe this is real. I can’t believe you’re gone. You were more than my brother. You were my inspiration.” 

Tidwell’s husband, journalist David Benaym, also shared the shock and sadness in an Instagram post: “I’m devastated that my Danny, the love of my life, my beloved friend, the artist, the talented angel, fierce mind, legendary dancer, my now late husband, Danny Tidwell, died last night in a car crash while his friend was driving him home from work. … Life was so challenging for him. But he was a warrior, and he came back standing, always. We loved each other so much. He was and always will be my family.” 

Tidwell, who was born in Norfolk, Virginia, began dancing at a young age, focusing on mainly jazz at first. He was guided and nurtured by Denise Wall, studio owner of Dance Energy, who eventually took custody of him when he was 12 years old. His interest in ballet was spiked when he studied at the prestigious Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. He joined American Ballet Theatre in 2003, and also danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Ballet Lubbock, and he was on faculty at JUMP, as well as taught at his mother’s studio and at various schools and studios across the country.

In 2006, Tidwell and Benaym created movmnt magazine, a quarterly publication that focused on dance, fashion, emerging music artists and social issues.

And it was in 2007, when Tidwell appeared on SYTYCD, when he really rose to stardom. He received praise from the judges and fans for his inspiring, breathtaking dancing abilities. He finished as runner-up that season.

A memorial service for Tidwell will be held this Thursday, March 12, in Norfolk, Virginia, at 2:30pm at the Roper Performing Arts Center. Benaym shared the invitation on Instagram and wrote, “Danny absolutely loved being on stage. In his honor, we invite everyone who loved him and anyone who was inspired by him to join his family and friends for a celebration of his life, inside one of the very theaters he danced in.”

Benaym also noted that the Danny Tidwell Scholarship for young dancers will be established to honor and continue Tidwell’s legacy.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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