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Remembering Chet Walker
Chet Walker, our dearest friend and teacher of musical theater dance, passed away from glioblastoma on October 21 at his home in North Carolina, USA.
Chet conceived and directed the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “FOSSE” in 1999, and has been very active as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher around the world for many years. In 2013, he choreographed for the revival of “PIPPIN,” a musical originally directed by Bob Fosse in which he also appeared. The production was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography, and won the Best Revival Musical award. In recent years, he has made several trips to Japan to work with the Japanese cast of “PIPPIN”.
Since his first Broadway appearance at the age of 16, Chet has performed in many Broadway musicals including four of Bob Fosse’s. Based on his first-hand experience on Broadway, Chet has been actively training the next generation of dancers around the world to pass on the traditions and dance techniques of Broadway musicals.
We met Chet in 2018 and have been sharing a strong desire to train Japanese dancers in musical theater so that we can uplift them onto the next level.
In addition to our regular open classes at BDC, we together held several “Jack Cole Special Workshops” to share the creations and techniques of the “Father of Theater Jazz Dance,” Jack Cole. In 2019, Chet and BDC presented the first choreography work of his West End and Broadway-bound production of “The Jack Cole Musical” here in Tokyo.
Chet often said, “I am so happy to have met your dancers in Tokyo. They are the rare dancers in the world, who are so diligent, who try so hard to understand the choreographer’s intentions, and who take their basic training so seriously!” I vividly remember his smile as he told us various stories with his humour.
In March of 2020, when COVID-19 began to rage, Chet was teaching here at BDC. When I asked him if he needed to return to the U.S. cutting the teaching period short, he replied, “Don’t worry, I will fulfill the promise I made to you. That’s what I do.” Until the end of March when the national borders were said to be shut down, he stayed with us in Tokyo teaching. I was truly touched by his heart, dedication, and professionalism.
Chet is a humorous, sometimes strict, and always passionate person. He is an invaluable teacher to all dancers in Japan who taught the most precious lessons of dance and life. We will never forget what he taught us, nor the deep love and passion he had for Japanese performers. We will continue to strive to nurture dancers who aim to deliver world-class performances following Chet’s footsteps.
With deepest gratitude, respect and love for Chet Walker, we pray from the bottom of our hearts that he may rest in peace. Thank you so so SO much, Chet.
Managing Director, Broadway Dance Center
Broadway Dance Centerにてミュージカルシアターダンスの指導にあたられて
Broadway Dance Center