Ulysses Dove '70


Image of Ulysses Dove

Ulysses Dove, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, began studying dance at Boggs Academy in Georgia and went on to receive his BA in dance from Bennington College.

After graduating, Dove moved to New York City where he performed with the companies of Mary Anthony and Pearl Lang. In 1970, he received a scholarship at the Merce Cunningham School and subsequently joined the Cunningham Company. In 1973, Anna Sokolow asked him to perform her classic Rooms. Having seen Dove’s performance, Alvin Ailey invited him to join his company, where he quickly rose to principal dancer and in 1979 made his choreographic debut. From 1980–1983 Dove was the assistant director of the Groupe de Recherche Choreographique de l’Opéra de Paris.

After leaving that role, Dove choreographed works for ballet and modern dance companies around the world, becoming known for works centered around high-energy blitzes that required taut-bodied dancers to surge across the stage in nonstop jumps, runs and spins, usually to driving, percussive music. His works were performed at the London Festival Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, City Ballet, Ballet France de Nancy, the Basel Ballet, the Cullberg Ballet of Sweden, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, and the Swedish National Ballet. He was also the choreographer for the Robert Wilson–Philip Glass opera The Civil Wars, in 1986.

Dove’s work was the subject of Dance in America: Two by Dove, an Emmy Award-winning 1995 show in the Great Performances series that was produced for public television.