In tribute to Michael McArthur (1986-2020)



“It’s hard to think about my future with the Verdon/Fosse Legacy and realize you won’t be alongside me. As the very first protégé, you set the bar extraordinarily high for all those who would follow you. You challenged me. Your exceptional technique as an artist made me a better dancer. Your effortless ability to connect to students made me a better teacher. I felt safe in a studio with you. You always had my back and would never let me fall. When you measure our time together in years, it was just a blip on the radar. But the lessons you have taught me will stay with me a lifetime. Fly high, Michael!” – Alyssa Epstein


2019 Dance Against Cancer performance at Lincoln Center

“Michael’s character shined even brighter than his dancing. He cared so much about this work and that passion and joy radiated from him whether he was performing, teaching, or rehearsing in the back corner of the studio. I will miss working with him and I will really miss dancing next to him. You know Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall in ‘The Alley Dance?’ That’s how it was dancing with Michael. His talent, charm, and energy inadvertently made you a better dancer. He will always be a part of this Legacy.” – Mary Callahan


Chita Rivera stops by a rehearsal of “I’m A Brass Band” (performance to honor Debbie Allen at the 2015 NYCDA Gala)

“What can I say that hasn’t been said already…how über talented Michael was—bar none one of the best of the best, dependable, loyal, consummate professional, smart as a whip, kind, funny, sweet, gorgeous…What I could add would take hours. For now, I’ll just say: You were so loved. The world is a lesser place because you are not in it. Rest well, sweet prince.” – Valarie Pettiford

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Exploring Amsterdam while teaching at the Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts in 2019

“Throughout the course of one’s life as a teacher, there are individuals who really make an impact in your life—who enrich your experience with their presence. Michael was one of those students. For the past eight years, it has been my pleasure to have the opportunity to work with this incredibly talented young man. And in addition to his many gifts, he was such a lovely young man…Kind, funny, caring, and loyal, with such generosity and integrity. He will be greatly missed not only as a dancer but as a friend. I so cherish the many times we spent just enjoying each other’s company. I will hold onto those memories most of all. My heart is broken, but I believe a spirit so full and beautiful will stay with us watching over us all. Love you buddy. Rest peacefully.” — Lloyd Culbreath


FX Network’s “Fosse/Verdon”

“Broken-hearted I try to put words to my feelings that words cannot seem to express. Michael was undeniably an exceptionally skilled talent as a dancer, teacher, assistant, choreographer, and reconstructeur. However, it was not Michael’s skills nor his talents that drew me to him; it was his authentic humility, kindness, patience, and true empathy that caused me to want to work with him and to spend time with him. It was because of his nature I wanted him to collaborate with our Verdon Fosse Legacy team and theatrical dance family. I am reminded how my father impressed upon me to never delay being with those you care about; never delay saying how much you appreciate someone in your life. Michael was completely present and joyous whether dancing, teaching, choreographing, or simply hanging out. I hope he knew how much I adored and respected him. My father also liked to believe when you get to heaven, you can jump as high as you can imagine and dance as much as you want without tiring or growing old. As much as I try to imagine Michael dancing alongside my father, trying out some new steps, with my mother watching, the signature twinkle in her eye, saying, “Oh isn’t he fabulous!” I can’t deny we, none of us, had him here with us long enough. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones. Michael’s absence leaves a gaping hole in our hearts and souls that can only be filled with our laughter, camaraderie, joy, and dancing. Laugh for Michael. Love for Michael. Dance for Michael.” — Nicole Fosse


Striking a pose during a Fosse Master Class

Michael McArthur (1986-2020)

I wanna be a dancin’ man,

While I can,

Gonna leave my footsteps on the sands of time,

If I never leave a dime.

Never be a millionaire,

I don’t care,

I’ll be rich as old King Midas might have been

Least until the tide rolls in

Let other men build the mighty nations,

Or stairways to the sky,

I’ll leave a few creations

To show that I was a dancin’ by.

I wanna be free as any bird can be, yes siree,

I wanna leave my footsteps on the sands of time,

If I never leave a dime, dime.

A dancin’ man

With footsteps

On the sands…

Of rhythm….and rhyme.