In memoriam: Kip Watson

Kip Watson

I’m sorry to have to say that Kip Watson, one of the forefathers of dance in Central Florida, died this morning of cancer.

Kip danced on Broadway in the original company of The Music Man and in the musical comedy All American. After leaving New York in the mid-’60s, he helped to found the School of Performing Arts and the Performing Arts Company of Florida, which later became Southern Ballet Theatre and then Orlando Ballet.

Kip is survived by his wife, dancer/teacher/choreographer Eliza Harwood-Watson. My best wishes to her and to all who loved Kip.

Kip was married to dancer

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4 responses to “In memoriam: Kip Watson

  1. Our hearts go out to Eliza and our dance family at Harwood – Watson Dance Studio. A great man passes leaving an indelible mark on our souls. Prepare the stage for us Kip, eventually we’ll join you in your next show. Thank you, Sir.

  2. Paul Castaneda

    A local legend who was also as real as rain. Godspeed, Kip. The world will not know the likes of you again.

  3. Kip gave me my first break working in not for profit at the Osceola Center for the Arts 10 years ago. He was tough and demanding but gave me the latitude to follow my instincts and together we breathed new life in to that small arts organization. He was instrumental in my becoming a member of Rotary International-a gift that years later paved the way for me to now work for the organization. Ironically, in between those two career destinations, I worked for four years at the company he created: Orlando Ballet. I will never forget seeing Kip and Eliza at Bob Carr one opening night of the Ballet and their disbelief that I was now working for ‘his’ company. I always had to smile to myself at the weekly staff meetings when Kip’s portrait would look down at me.
    In a complete twist of fate, I ran in to Kip at a branch of the Post Office I never visited before shortly after I began working for Rotary. I am grateful for that fateful day as it gave me the opportunity to thank him for paving the way for a career I love.
    RIP Kip-thank you for opening doors for so many dancers and for believing in MY dream.

  4. dennis smith

    I remember going to kindergarden and taking tumbling at the old dance studio. My brother and sister took dance there. That was 1971 or so. RIP Kip.