Founding Director of Dance/USA’s First Branch Office, Dance/NYC, Passes Away

June 24, 2016

Contact: Johanna Tschebull

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK – Dance/USA and Dance/NYC share a statement on Bob Yesselman, founding director of Dance/USA’s first branch office, Dance/NYC, who passed away on June 1, 2016.

An inspired director, Yesselman led Dance/NYC from 2002 to 2007. Under his leadership, the branch office delivered powerful advocacy, research, and professional development to dance artists in the New York metropolitan area and served as a model when Dance/USA developed additional branch offices in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. He retired in 2007 after 36 years of serving dance artists. 

In his retirement letter to the field  Bob counted three accomplishments as highlights of his career: the first, his presidency of the 1987 gala, “Dancing for Life,” which drew critical attention to HIV/AIDS in the dance field; second, his role as executive director of the Paul Taylor Dance Company; and third, his time at Dance/NYC. 

“I have had the privilege to work with Bob in many capacities over many years,” said Linda Shelton, executive director, The Joyce Theater; Dance/USA Trustee; and Dance/NYC Board Member.  “As an admirer during his many years with Paul Taylor, as his general manager at the Joffrey Ballet when he was the executive director, as a collaborator on the original studies for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center and as Dance/NYC’s founding director.  He was a great leader, a wise mentor, and a trusted advisor, but most of all, Bob was a wonderful friend.  I will miss him.”

“Bob was an inspiring & visionary activist for dance,” said dance advocate and Dance/NYC advisor Beverly D’Anne. “His dedication to the field was unwavering. He is much missed!”

Bob Yesselman’s legacy is very much alive at Dance/USA and Dance/NYC. The world of dance has lost a great advocate. 

Established in 1982, Dance/USA is the national service organization for the professional dance field. Dance/USA sustains and advances professional dance by providing national leadership, services, and enhancing the infrastructure for dance creation and distribution.  Dance/USA is committed to honoring, nurturing and advancing dance through the lens of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity in all aspects of its programming, services and organization.  Learn more at

Formerly a branch office of Dance/USA, Dance/NYC began its operations as an independent nonprofit on in January 2013, working in alliance with Dance/USA. Dance/NYC’s mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds values of equity and inclusion into all aspects of the organization. Dance.NYC

Skip to content