NAME: Stierle, Edward

2 March 1968, Hollywood, Florida

8 March 1991, St. Vincent's Hospital, New York City, age 23

The Joffrey Ballet in Edward Stierle's Empyrean Dances, 1991.
Photo: Herbert Migdoll, courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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  • video documentation
  • photographic documentation
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    Edward Stierle was a leading dancer with the Joffrey Ballet and, at the time of his death, a choreographer of notable promise. Stierle choreographed five ballets, two of which were large works made expressly for the Joffrey—Lacrymosa (c. 1990) and Empyrean Dances (1991). These are still performed by the company in its new incarnation as the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Stierle died four days after attending the Joffrey's New York premiere of his Empyrean Dances, which Anna Kisselgoff reviewed for the New York Times (see below). "His is a stunning talent," she wrote, "delving unabashedly into images of emotional turbulence—a ceaseless outpouring of passions that both disturb and thrill."

    Stierle began training at the age of four in his sister's tap class. At ten, he enrolled in ballet classes and, at fifteen, joined the North Carolina School of the Arts. He also studied at the School of American Ballet. Stierle came to the attention of Robert Joffrey after winning gold medals at two ballet competitions: the International Prix de Lausanne and the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. He danced with the Basel Ballet after winning the Prix de Lausanne. He joined the Joffrey company in 1986, soon after winning the Jackson competition. He died from AIDS-related complications.

    Rosemarie Stierle Worton has secured the rights to all four of Stierle's ballets. She shares the rights to Empyrean Dances (1991) with former Joffrey ballet mistress Barbara Forbes.

    Rosemarie Stierle Worton, sister and executor of estate
    Director, Choreographer, Production Manager
    On Stage Entertainment "Legends in Concert"
    7007 Black Horse Pike
    West Atlantic City, NJ 08232

    Rose and William Stierle, parents

    William Mark Stierle, Jr., brother
    1919 Broadway
    Santa Monica, CA 90404
    310-264-1624 (office)
    866-897-6942 (fax)

    Jon H. Teeuwissen, Executive Director
    Joffrey Ballet of Chicago
    70 E. Lake, Suite 1300
    Chicago, IL 60601
    312-739-0120 (phone)
    312-739-0119 (fax)

    (name and contact info, relationship to the artist and the work, assessment):

    Rosemarie Stierle Worton and former Joffrey ballet mistress Barbara Forbes as well as former and current dancers of the Joffrey Ballet and Joffrey Ballet Chicago.

    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    The version of Lacrymosa performed at Dancers Responding to AIDS benefit at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (1997) has been documented in a standard one-camera shoot. The tape is housed in the collection of Dancers Responding to AIDS. The Joffrey maintains a company archive that is now split among warehouse space in Chicago, the Joffrey school in New York, Gerald Arpino's Chicago apartment, and the company's studios in Chicago. Presumably Stierle's works are documented in the Joffrey's collection, but the company has no archivist at present.

    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library contains the following:

    Stierle, Edward, 1968-1991 / [Photographs]; call number MGZEA.

    Additionally, pictures of his ballets, performances, and medals are in the student lounge and library at North Carolina School of the Arts.

    (location, type [including notes taken by dancers], assessment):

    The Dance Notation Bureau has prepared a Labanotation score for Lacrymosa, which is held in the DNB archive. The score is supported by the following ancillary materials: costume swatches; photocopies of photographs from Graeme Murphy's Shining showing costume, which was modified and used in Lacrymosa; photograph and program from Shining for same purpose; programs from performances dated 1991, 1995, and 1996; four reviews dated 1991; and various obituaries as well as reviews of Diane Solway's biography.

    (scores, sound recordings, set/costume designs):

    These materials are maintained in storage by Joffrey Ballet Chicago.

    Diane Solway interviewed the members of Stierle's family, his friends, and his colleagues for her book. Presumably these interviews remain in her possession.

    (location of newspaper clippings, printed programs, press releases, notes, files, diaries; assessment):

    According to the biography by Diane Solway, the family archivist is Rose Stierle, Edward's mother, who maintains a catalog of his "report cards, recital programs, modeling composites, Joffrey Ballet itineraries, and gala invitations," as well as two journals and three scrapbooks of clippings. Edward's spiritual healing tapes and books and unpublished private papers were bequeathed to his sister Rosemarie Worton. Again, according to Solway, "These comprised his letters, date books, personal photographs, contracts, mortgage papers, choreographic drawings, and good-luck notes from Robert Joffrey." Worton also holds a sound tape of Edward's final hours at St. Vincent's Hospital.

    The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library maintains a clippings file for "Stierle, Edward, 1968-1991," call number MGZR.

    (archival assistance? storage? other?):

    The Joffrey company expressed no immediate needs where Stierle's ballets are concerned. It seems clear, however, that an archivist would facilitate access to video documents of Stierle's work.

    Lacrymosa has been performed by dancers assembled for the 1997 Dancers Responding to AIDS benefit at the Kennedy Center, and by Aspen Ballet, under the artistic directorship of Tom Mossbrucker, who was in the original cast. According to Tom Mulvihill, Stierle's works remain in the Joffrey repertory as of late 1999, but they are not in the current rep.

    Lacrymosa was performed by dancers at Southern Methodist University for their March 2003 Spring Dance Concert.

    According to Rose Worton, in the Spring of 2001, North Carolina School of the Arts dedicated a wing of the dance department—a student lounge—in Edward's memory. Worton also states that several students from the school have contacted her and her parents for permission to dance the solo male section of Lacrymosa, for which they have won competitions.

    (title, premiere date, music, production notes, performers):

    Lacrymosa d'amore (1988)—Joffrey II Choreographers' Workshop.

    Effigy (1989)—Joffrey II Choreographers' Workshop.

    Concerto Con Brio (1989)—North Carolina School of the Arts.

    Lacrymosa (1990)—Joffrey Ballet; Mozart Requiem (K. 626).

    Empyrean Dances (1991)—Joffrey Ballet; music by Howard Hanson (Concerto in G Major for Piano and Orchestra).


    • Anawalt, Sasha. 1996. The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company. New York: Scribner.
    • Driver, Senta. 1991. "Edward Stierle (1968-1991)." Ballet Review 19 (3) (Fall): 47-48, illus.
    • Dunning, Jennifer. 1991. "Edward Stierle, 23, A Leading Dancer with Joffrey Ballet." New York Times (9 March).
    • Hull, Anne V. 1991. "The Last Dance." [St. Petersburg, Florida] Times (5 May).
    • Kisselgoff, Anna. 1991. "Review/Ballet: A Dancer's Joust with Death" [review of Edward Stierle's Lacrymosa]. New York Times (1 March).
    • __________. 1991. "Review/Ballet: A High-Energy Feast of New Choreography at the Joffrey's Gala" [review of Edward Stierle's Empyrean Dances]. New York Times (7 March).
    • __________. 1991. "Despite Sorrow, the Joffrey Season Soars." New York Times (17 March).
    • Robertson, Allen. 1995. "Book Review: A Dance Against Time [Biography of Edward Stierle], by Diane Solway." Dance Now 4 (2) (Summer): 92-94, illus.
    • Solway, Diane. 1991. "Mustering Creative Power in the Face of Death." New York Times (24 March).
    • __________. 1994. A Dance Against Time. New York: Pocket Books.
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