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Famed ballet dancer, instructor Henry Danton passes away at 102

100 year old ballet master Henry Danton completed the Royal Academy of Dancing after service in...
100 year old ballet master Henry Danton completed the Royal Academy of Dancing after service in the Royal Military. The Bedford England native performed with renowned dance companies across the UK, Europe, and South America. Source: Belhaven University
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 1:22 PM CST
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PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - Earlier this month, former ballet star, instructor and Petal resident Henry Danton passed away.

According to an obituary on the Moore Funeral Service website, Henry Danton, born Henry David Boileau Down, died peacefully at his home on Feb. 9. He was 102 years old.

The site said he was born on March 30, 1919, in Bedford, England. He was the son of Charles Boileau Down and Beatrice Forsyth.

Danton began his dance career at the age of 21, after being injured during WWII, by performing with international dance companies including the Sadlers Wells Ballet, which later became The Royal Ballet in England.

Danton’s career took him around the world. He has performed with renowned dance companies across the UK, Europe and South America.

His obituary said he founded the National Ballet of Venezuela, danced for Roland Petit’s Ballet de Paris, and taught in New York at the Julliard School, Carnegie Hall, and the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance as well as many more educational institutions.

After an ankle injury, Danton retired as a performer and devoted the rest of his life to teaching ballet, said the obituary.

Around the 1990′s, he relocated to Mississippi and continued to teach at Belhaven University and the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a resident of Petal at the time of his death

In 2020, the Mississippi Art’s Commission awarded Danton the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance.

The obituary said Danton dedicated his life to Ballet and passed on his devotion to the art to countless numbers of students.

There will be a Celebration of Life event held at South Mississippi Ballet Theatre on March 20 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial endowments and scholarships in Danton’s name have been created.

This story will be updated if more information is provided.

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