Great Performances mourns the passing of Emmy Award-winning pioneer producer and director of Dance in America Merrill Brockway in Santa Fe at the age of 90.
An Indiana native, he started his career as a piano teacher and accompanist for noted singers and instrumentalists. At the age of 30, he decided to go into television, working for CBS in Philadelphia and New York as a director, and then, in 1967, as producer of an arts program.
In 1975 at the age of 52, he left that career for PBS, working for THIRTEEN’s “Dance in America,” which along with “Theater in America” and “Music in America” were sub-series of Great Performances. He was especially proud of being able to persuade choreographer George Balanchine to allow his dances for the New York City Ballet to be preserved on the series, beginning a relationship marked by mutual admiration and respect. Programs with Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Twyla Tharp, among others, followed in short order. His last work for the series was in 1988.
The New Mexican reports that he donated his “Dance in America” archives to National Dance Institute of New Mexico two years ago.
His memoir, “Surprise Was My Teacher” was published in 2010.