Visionary Founder of New Jersey Ballet
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Carolyn Clark, the visionary Founder and former Artistic Director of New Jersey Ballet. Miss Clark leaves behind a legacy that will forever be etched in the hearts of the New Jersey arts community and all those who were fortunate enough to know and work with her.
Miss Clark’s passion for dance ignited at a young age. Her unwavering commitment to the arts led her to pursue a career as a professional dancer with Ballet Theatre – now American Ballet Theatre. In 1958, Miss Clark established the New Jersey Ballet Company. With her extraordinary talent and unwavering determination, she transformed a small humble dance company into one of New Jersey’s leading arts institutions. Under her visionary leadership, New Jersey Ballet flourished, delighting audiences with mesmerizing performances. During her sixty-two years as Artistic Director of New Jersey Ballet, she commissioned hundreds of new works, oversaw the staging of numerous full-length ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Coppelia, the U.S. premiere of Esmeralda, Don Quixote and New Jersey’s longest running professional production of Nutcracker.
Her artistic vision extended beyond the stage. She was a passionate advocate for dance education, believing in its power to inspire and transform lives. She dedicated herself to nurturing young talents and fostering a new generation of dancers at New Jersey School of Ballet. Established in 1953 by her mother, Miss Clark grew the School to become one of New Jersey’s leading dance schools where numerous alumni have continued on to have professional careers in major companies including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and New Jersey Ballet, as well as Broadway productions to name a few. Her tireless efforts ensured that countless aspiring artists had the opportunity to receive exceptional training and guidance.
She is a founding member of ArtPride New Jersey, served two years on the President’s Council on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center and five years on the Advisory Board of Channel 13. Miss Clark was honored with a New Jersey Pride Award for her contribution to the arts and also by the National Society of Arts and Letters and by Dance NJ. Beyond her professional achievements, Miss Clark was a beloved mentor and role model. She possessed a rare ability to uplift those around her, instilling in others a sense of purpose and a belief in their own potential. Her extraordinary legacy will endure through New Jersey Ballet – from the Company she built from the ground up, and the School where countless students learned to love the art of dance – her unwavering dedication to the arts will continue to shape the future of dance for generations to come in New Jersey.
Miss Clark is survived by her family, friends and the extended dance community who will forever carry her spirit within their hearts. In honoring her memory, let us continue to embrace the power of dance and strive to create a world that celebrates and nurtures the arts, just as Carolyn Clark did throughout her extraordinary life.
Donations may be made in her memory to New Jersey Ballet, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 charitable performing arts company by clicking the donate button below or by mailing a donation to the address below:
New Jersey Ballet
7-9 Vreeland Road
Florham Park, NJ 07932