Garth Fagan

Sunday, November 15 marks the 50th anniversary of Garth Fagan Dance. We talk with members of the critically acclaimed company about its history, its remarkable work, and its future.

Our guests:

  • Garth Fagan, founder for Garth Fagan Dance
  • William Ferguson, acting executive director of Garth Fagan Dance, and personal assistant to Garth Fagan
  • Natalie Rogers-Cropper, school director and assistant rehearsal director for Garth Fagan Dance
  • Norwood Pennewell, rehearsal director at Garth Fagan Dance, and assistant to Garth Fagan

Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester City School District, and the City of Rochester’s Black Heritage Committee are all teaming up to offer a Black History Month celebration on Saturday, February 29.

Max Shulte / WXXI News

Norwood Pennewell’s adoptive father was dead by the time he was 16 years old, and his adoptive mother was gone a few years later.

Jeff Tyzik speaks of growing up in a dysfunctional home.

When they first set eyes on Garth Fagan, and what he was doing with dance, Pennewell and Tyzik were “blown away.” Independently, both use that phrase. They were college students then, searching for their identities, and they were intimidated.

Provided Photo / DRPR

Jake Clemons is the son of a U.S. Marine band director, a kid who grew up in a strict Southern Baptist household. "We listened to a lot of marching-band music," he says. "I was very familiar with John Philip Sousa, a lot of classical music and gospel." But Jake also knew that his uncle, Clarence Clemons, was the saxophonist for one of the biggest rock 'n' roll bands in the world: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Fred SanFilipo / for WXXI News

It took 4½ decades for Garth Fagan Dance to get around to writing a piece about Frederick Douglass. But the wait is nearly over.

The nationally recognized Rochester contemporary dance ensemble is airing a few sections of the new work on the iconic Rochester abolitionist at this year’s KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. Along with right-hand man Norwood Pennewell’s new work in progress, “Distant Kin,” it’s clear that Garth Fagan Dance is not leaping on its laurels. 

Legendary choreographer Garth Fagan is preparing to debut a new work as part of the upcoming Garth Fagan Dance season. We sit down with Fagan to discuss his work. Our guests: 

  • Garth Fagan, founder of Garth Fagan Dance
  • Norwood Pennewell, choreographer
  • Bill Ferguson, faculty member at Garth Fagan Dance School

Garth & Wynton - The Project

Nov 28, 2012

Watch Tony award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and Grammy Award-winning musician and composer Wynton Marsalis join forces for a project entitled Lighthouse/Lightning Rod. WXXI was granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to document the collaboration from the rehearsals in Rochester, to the world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Need to Know Rochester: Garth Fagan Honored in NYC

Oct 5, 2012

This week on Need to Know Rochester, we continue our coverage of choreographer Garth Fagan's collaboration with musician Wynton Marsalis.  After the piece premiered last week in New York City, Fagan was honored by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for his progressive and innovative work.   For more details, watch Need to Know Rochester on Friday at 8:30 p.m. or Sunday at 12:30 p.m.


WXXI News was granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to document Lighthouse/Lightning Rod, a project between Tony award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and Grammy Award-wining musician and composer Wynton Marsalis. 

Standing Ovation for Fagan, Marsalis in Brooklyn

Oct 2, 2012

Rochester's own Garth Fagan marked the 40th anniversary of his dance troupe in style this week with a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where he debuted a new collaboration with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis. WXXI's Julie Philipp has been covering the collaboration between Marsalis and Fagan, and she spoke to both of them before they traveled to Brooklyn.