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Eleo Pomare
Born: 1937
Occupation: choreographer, dancer, teacher
Before moving to Harlem at the age of ten, Eleo Pomare spent his childhood in Cartagena, Colombia, San Andres, and Panama. After receiving a diploma from the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, he continued his dance training with Louis Horst, Jose Limon, and Curtis James, and by 1958 was directing his first company. Through a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, Pomare spent two years (1962-1964) studying initially with Kurt Jones in West Germany and later with Expressionists in Holland. There he organized a second company that was well received in Holland, Sweden, Germany, and Norway.

By 1965, Pomare returned to the United States seeking an artistic connection to American culture. His company performed throughout the United States and later toured successfully in Asia, Africa, Canada, Spain, Australia, and the West Indies.

Pomare's distinctive style is characterized by unexpected shapes that twist, bend, fall, and lean in continuous organic movement. With a keen musical sense, he creates sculptures-in-motion that extend, expand, and slice through space. They can be lush and lyrical, or bold, driving, and direct. Some of his characteristic works include "Missa Luba" (1965), "Blues for the Jungle" (1966), and "Las Desenamoradas" (1967).

Pomare often creates dances based on visual and literary works or socio-political issues. In 1988, he was selected by the American Dance Festival to participate in a three-year project entitled "The Black Tradition in American Modern Dance" set up to showcase and preserve modern dance classics by African-American choreographers. He has produced dances for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, The National Ballet of Holland, Balletinstituttet (Oslo, Norway), the Cleo Parker-Robinson Dance Company, the Australian Contemporary Dance Company, and the Ballet Palacio das Artes (Belo, Horizonte, Brazil).

As a founder and the first artistic director of Dancemobile (1967), Pomare helped bring free professional dance concerts to the streets of New York City. For his outstanding contributions to modern dance, January 7, 1987 was declared Eleo Pomare Day by the Borough President of Manhattan. Pomare is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and several awards from the National Endowment of the Arts.

-- Jacqui Malone

Emery, Lynne Fauley. BLACK DANCE IN THE UNITED STATES FROM 1619-1970. California, 1972.
Estrada, Ric. "3 Leading Negro Artists and How They Feel About Dance in the Community." DANCE MAGAZINE (November 1968): 4560.
Golden, Bernette. "Eleo Pomare Dance Company." BLACK CREATION 4, 2 (Winter 1973): 1618.
Long, Richard A. THE BLACK TRADITION IN AMERICAN DANCE. New York, 1989.

Source Citation: "Eleo Pomare."ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE AND HISTORY. 5 vols. Macmillan, 1996. Reprinted by permission of Gale Group.