Margaret O’Sullivan was a member of the CWDF Board of Directors since 1989. She was a member of the last generation of dancers to dance with Charles Weidman in his theater dance company in the 1970’s. She appeared in Mr. Weidman’s works including the Christmas and Easter Oratorios, Lynchtown, Brahms Waltzes, Opus 51 Opening Dance, Bargain Counter, The Thurber Fables, The War Between Men and the Women, and others. In addition to working on the Board of Directors, she was involved in the production of our award-winning documentary Charles Weidman: On His Own. She also participated in The Charles Weidman Dance Foundation’s presentation of our Humphrey-Weidman Gala at The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York in 1994. Later Margaret was instrumental in arranging, staging, coaching, and teaching Mr. Weidman’s works in our educational outreach initiative at several institutions including New York University, Montclair State University, and the José Limón- Professional Dance Program. With Janet Towner she staged excerpts from the Easter Oratorio at NYU that were performed in New York City at the 92nd Street Y Legacy Series in 2010. In 2011, Margaret staged Brahms Waltzes at NYU while coaching MSU students in Lynchtown. Both dances were performed at the 92nd Street Y for the 110th anniversary of Charles Weidman’s birth, the 75th anniversary of Lynchtown and the 50th anniversary of Brahms Waltzes. Margaret staged Lynchtown for Nimbus Dance Works, which was performed at the Alvin Ailey Theater in 2012 and all over the Northeast for Nimbus’ Lynchtown/Thistown Project in 2013. She had been tireless in her dedication to the legacy of Charles Weidman and The Charles Weidman Dance Foundation.
The Charles Weidman Dance Foundation would like to invite all who knew Margaret to send us your remembrances of her, whether through dance or not, which we will post on our website, Facebook page, and blog. We want to do this to pay tribute to her dedication to Charles Weidman and the Charles Weidman Dance Foundation and to celebrate her life.
Send your remembrances to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to our mailing address.
I want to express how heart broken I feel as a result of the loss of my dear friend and colleague. Margaret and I were not only members of the CWDF board, we were members of Charles Weidman’s Theater Dance Company and performed together at the Expression of Two Arts Theater on West 29th Street in New York City. We would often reminisce about the Sunday night performances Charles gave 52 weeks a year. Margaret and I “starred” as Mary and Joseph in the Christmas Oratorio. During the recitative describing their plight in Bethlehem looking for a room, there would be a pause in the dancing. Then Margaret and I would make our way, on our knees, around the perimeter of the stage miming a knock on the door of the inns – then being turned away by the innkeeper. Sometimes, with our backs to the audience, we would kibitz with each other while making our way from inn to inn. After each performance Charles would always invite us back to his living quarters in the back of the studio where we would talk about the performance and the audience reaction and any flubs we made during the performance – Charles spotted everything. We worked hard in class and during rehearsals, but those Sunday night performances were worth all the sweat and hard work. Margaret always remembered them fondly. She liked to tell the story of her first visit to Charles’ studio. On her first day she arrived a little early and climbed the stairs to the second floor. She knocked on the door and was flabbergasted when Charles himself opened the door and welcomed her in. After introductions, Charles showed her the “dressing” room, which was a small alcove near the front door separated from the studio by a white sheet – the men and women dressing rooms were separated by another sheet. A few more words were exchanged and as Charles headed back to the living quarters he turned to Margaret and said “And by the way, you’re very pretty!” And so shall she remain to me.
-Robert Kosinski, President CWDF Board of Directors
I remember Margaret from Expression of Two Arts Theater on West 29 st. After hours of rehearsal and an evening performance, Margaret still had energy. She was always perky. One day Margaret was teaching Brahms Waltzes and I asked her how, after all these years she still remembered all the choreography of so many pieces. She said, “I don’t know, I just have done them so many times that it flows from one move to the next.” After the Sunday performances Margaret and everyone moved to Charles’ apartment for lamb stew and Rhinegarten wine.
-Charles Wilson, Secretary, CWDF Board of Directors
I met Margaret as a second year student at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU while learning Weidman’s Easter Oratorio. Her lively energy was contagious and her devotion to the work made us truly care about the integrity of the work. I worked as a dancer and later as a consultant with Margaret for five years and I feel incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing friend. I will always remember Margaret at the CWDF fundraiser in April 2014. While a performance of Lynchtown was happening, I couldn’t stop watching Margaret in the audience- she followed every movement with her body and facial expressions. She was living in the dance even when she wasn’t dancing. She was remarkable to learn from, to work with, and to have as a friend.
-Julia Jurgilewicz, CWDF Administrative Consultant