Edward Villella is the Founding Artistic Director and CEO of the Miami City Ballet.
BS in Marine Transportaion, New York Maritime Academy
Married to Linda Villella
Edward Villella was born in Bayside, New York in 1936. He entered the School of American Ballet at age ten but interrupted his dance training to complete academic studies. A graduate of the New York Maritime Academy, he obtained a B.S. in marine transportation, lettered in baseball, and was a championship boxer.
He returned to SAB following graduation in 1955, and in 1957 was invited to join the New York City Ballet, where he was quickly promoted to Soloist (1958), and then to Principal Dancer (1960). Mr. Villella was the original male lead in many important ballets in the New York City Ballet repertoire, among them Tarantella, the "Rubies" section of Jewels, Symphony in Three Movements, Dances at a Gathering, Watermill, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon) Perhaps his most famous role was in the 1960 revival of Balanchine's 1929 masterpiece, Prodigal Son.
Mr. Villella was the first American male dancer to perform with the Royal Danish Ballet, and the only American ever to be asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. He danced for President Kennedy's inauguration and for Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. He was producer/director for the PBS series "Dance in America" for one and a-half years, and in 1975 won an Emmy Award for his CBS television production of "Harlequinade". He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the School of American Ballet. The University of Pittsburgh Press reissued Villella's 1992 autobiography, Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic, written with Larry Kaplan, in March 1998.