In Memoriam: Stuart Hodes

1924 – 2023

Dance legend Stuart Hodes passed away March 15, 2023. He was 98 years of age, and to the last, a major force in artistic and educational endeavors in the United States and the world. He served NASD in many capacities, including as the Association’s inaugural Vice President and Chair of the Commission on Accreditation (1981-1985) and subsequently as President (1985-1988).

His name will always be associated with that of Martha Graham. He attended her school, joined her company, and eventually became her partner in such works as Appalachian Spring. In later years, he taught at the Martha Graham School in New York and wrote Onstage with Martha Graham, a memoir of his performances with the extremely gifted and powerful personality. Along his way forward, he danced on Broadway, appeared with his own ensemble, choreographed for many professional companies, and taught at the Neighborhood Playhouse, the New York High School of Performing Arts, Manhattan Community College, and New York University.

Stuart Hodes was a special man, with twinkling eyes. Adjectives to describe him can be found in any thesaurus under words such as enthusiasm, joy, intensity, devotion, trust, experience, achievement, wisdom, and love. He brought his unique package of gifts and personality to NASD and gave unstintingly of his time, expertise, and spirit. He was always quick to respect the work of others, ready to bring multiple views to decision-making, and fluent in discovering connections between and among all parts of an issue. He wanted to help everyone and everything dance.

And, he had a sense of perspective, perhaps in part for having been a bomber pilot in World War II, but also from living daily with the thrills and dangers of dancing, and from staring down the abyss that all creative artists face when beginning any new work. He played a long game to the great benefit of dance as art form and field of endeavor. NASD is forever grateful that for so many years, he played innings with professional studio and higher education colleagues to support the work of the Association on behalf of dance. His contributions and generosity are legendary and unforgettable. Memories and resonances of his great spirit remain as inspiration to us all. For those who knew him, it’s impossible to see his name without seeing his smile.