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Peggy Soomil

"My life has been a journey across the US," says choreographer Peggy Soomil, who grew up in a five-story tenement a mile from the Empire State Building. She took her first ballet class at age five, studied modern dance in her teens, and auditioned for Julliard at the suggestion of her gym teacher. "It was a tough place to be," she says. "Out of 100 who started, only five of us graduated." She spent four years as a member and soloist in the Anna Sokolow Company, and six years with her own Peggy Cicierska Dance Company. She left New York in 1975 for a year in Cleveland with members of her company, then joined forces with dancer Kim Arrow for performance and teaching gigs in numerous western cities, from Boulder to Bellingham, until 1983. She taught choreography at UCLA and earned an MA. She married Steve Soomil, a musician and composer, in 1984, and they adopted Dan, a Peruvian child. They departed LA in 1991 and found a house on a wooded South Eugene hillside. "Six months later, we started this studio," says Soomil, who currently teaches dance and conditioning classes for adults three evenings a week in the pentagonal room among the tall firs. Check YouTube for some recent videos of her choreography. Soomil's husband Steve, who shared the studio space, died of cancer in 1998. Her son Dan is a student at LCC.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 28 March 2013

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