Gary was and is a valued member of the LA dance community. He served on the Board of Dance Resource Center and was the Office Manager. The Dance Resource Center gives him a standing ovation for his artistry, work and dedication to the field. See below to read remembrances and tributes from members of the LA dance community.

Anyone who ever knew or studied Dance with Gary Bates was lucky. Gary was a gifted person who’s legacy is what he gave. He was a beautiful mover who had an inate quality. When he performed simply sitting in a chair was memorable.  It could be serious, funny, or sensual and as exciting as fourteen turns and a stag’s leap across a stage. It was a gift. That strong, subtle inner force kept him going and those qualities both subtle and strong will be passed on through those whom he taught, and  those who teach. Much love to those who mourn.  – Lenny Steinberg

I was sad to learn that Gary Bates had passed on and thought about him all weekend. He was a good man and a brilliant artist, I am honored to have worked with him. The process of remounting Vesalii Icones with him was an essential learning process for me. Gary taught me the importance of stillness and presence in contrast to the movement of a dance. He taught me to soften and to dance with my face. He taught me diligence and I am impressed at his ability to stick with something until you understand it and to not give up. Gary did not give up, he stayed dancing, and even now he dances with god. His faith was powerful. Gary, I will miss you, but you are part of my soul army now, you live through me as I continue to perform and teach what you taught me. Thank you friend. – Jones

Gary Bates was an intuitive, natural performer.  I knew him best during his days with the dance company Eyes Wide Open.  They evolved from a graduate dance program at UCLA in the 1970’s. – Fred Allen

I first met Gary Bates in 1972. The Bella Lewitzky Dance Company and the Viola Farber Dance Company (of which I was a member) shared a summer residency at American University in Washington, D.C. Gary was an amazing performer and a very generous person. After I moved to Los Angeles in 1978, Gary studied with me briefly in the Eyes Wide Open Studio in Venice, CA. and I had the pleasure of getting to know him a little better and to see his wonderful choreography and performances with Eyes Wide Open. I can not remember the year, but Gary performed an truly astonishing solo down the stairs behind the John Anson Ford Theater. He literally tumbled and danced all the way down the mountain side stairs and onto the stage. It was unforgettable. – Jeff Slayton

When I moved to LA in the early 70’s, I had been a concert and Broadway dancer in New York, quickly became established teaching actors and musicians at USC, and made a splash with my first major work for concert here “The Tennis Dances”. But Gary thought I could dig deeper in my work and invited me to be in residence at Loyola where he was teaching at the time. There he critiqued me as I developed “dislocated”, my triptych about three homeless street girls, a battered woman, and a Japanese girl torn between her tradition and her new place in the United States. When he saw my dance/multimedia “Email Dances” he again thought I could dig deeper in the “Yellow Star” section about lost relatives in the Holocaust. In that next version I took out the emotion on the film to translate to the live dancers and his comments were “better” but you could do more. Despite a great LA Times Segal review, I felt that way too. This year, about 20 years later than the original version, I reworked it again for “A Jewish Child’s Story” as I knew I could make it a better work. Thank you Gary for pushing me to keep reworking until something becomes the best it can be. – Louise Reichlin, recipient in 2002 of the Horton Awards Gary Bates Award for creativity, sustained professional achievement, and service to the community.

Photo Credits:
All photos by William Purcell

  1. Top Left photo: Kathy Copperman & Gary Bates in “Mysterium”
  2. Top Right photo: Gary Bates under Fred Strickler in “Don Q Pas de Deux”
  3. Bottom photo: Gary Bates with Eyes Wide Open is a dance called “Phrasing”