Raymond Lukens studied art at the High School of Music and Art, acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, ballet with Richard Thomas and Barbara Fallis and was a scholarship student at the American Ballet Theatre School. He also studied jazz and acrobatics with Charles Kelley. His professional career started as a Trainee with Harkness Ballet and be later joined the American Classical Ballet in Buffalo, New York, where he worked with Bronislava Nijinska, Alicia Markova, and Hans Brenaa. As a dancer, Lukens toured extensively starting his European career with The Ballet Royal de Wallonie, directed by Hannah Voos. He performed the works of choreographers such as Nijinska, Peter Van Dyk, Maurice Bejart, George Skibine, Serge Lifar, and the classics of Balanchine, Fokine, Petipa, and Bournonville. While dancing in Europe, he assisted Van Dyk in restaging his ballets.
Upon retiring from the stage, Lukens obtained the highest teaching qualifications as a pedagogue with the Cecchetti Society in the UK. Together with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (JKO) Artistic Director, Franco De Vita, he directed the Hamlyn School of Dance in Florence, Italy. Lukens returned to the United States upon Kirk Peterson’s invitation to be ballet master for Hartford Ballet, where he was part of the task force that revised School of Hartford Ballet’s curriculum. Later, he served as ballet master for Cincinnati Ballet and Alberta Ballet. He has staged Peterson’s and Stanton Welch’s ballets for various companies in the United Sates.
Other credits include teaching at international seminars throughout the world, and in New York for American Ballet Theatre, ABT Studio Company, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Ailey School, The Juilliard School, Peridance International, Marymount Manhattan College, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dance Educators of America, and Youth America Grand Prix.
Lukens created the ballet syllabi for the ABT/NYU MA Program and has been a faculty member of the JKO School at ABT since 2005. Together with Franco De Vita, he authored ABT’s National Training Curriculum, and has traveled as far as St. Petersburg, Russia and Lima, Peru, to teach the ABT NTC.
Lukens coached the Italian Olympic Figure Skating team, translated into Italian Joan Lawson’s book Ballet Class, and has written articles for several dance publications. Before joining ABT, Lukens was director of Boston Ballet II and ballet master for Boston Ballet.
As a choreographer Lukens created several works for students in Italy, for Cecchetti Summer Schools in England and two UNICEF galas telecast worldwide via Italian and Dutch television. For Intermezzo, a new ballet company, he composed Veils. He also arranged several works for ABT’s JKO School, including ballets especially created for ABT’s Opening Night Gala at the Metropolitan Opera House.
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