Loren Hightower was born in Texas in 1927, and came to the Pillow as a scholarship student in 1947 when he performed in Arthur Mahoney’s Crosstown
with Nikita Talin. It was here that he received the nickname “Tex” that stayed with him for the rest of his life. It was also at the Pillow that summer that he met the renowned British ballet teacher Margaret Craske, who became his lifelong mentor and friend. After moving to New York, it was Craske who led him to the Metropolitan Opera Ballet where he danced principal roles in the early 1950s, often partnering the groundbreaking black ballerina Janet Collins. Hightower also enjoyed a long association with Agnes De Mille, dancing in Oklahoma!
and with the Agnes De Mille Dance Theatre. His extensive Broadway appearances included Peter Pan, 110 in the Shade, Camelot, Anyone Can Whistle, Brigadoon, Half A Sixpence, and Finian’s Rainbow
. A career highlight was dancing in Herbert Ross’s controversial ballet The Maids
(from the Jean Genet play), with his life partner of 44 years, Paul Olson. Both Hightower and Olson were in Ballet Theatre's 1957 premiere of The Maids
, and Hightower later restaged the work for ABT. He retired from performing in the late 1960s and for many years taught dance at Adelphi University and alongside Margaret Craske in Manhattan. He also returned to the Pillow for a summer of teaching, in 1972, and last visited in 2006 to help his former student, Norton Owen, celebrate his 30th anniversary on the Pillow staff. A follower of the Indian spiritual master, Meher Baba, he moved to Myrtle Beach, SC, to be close to the Meher Spiritual Center, where he died on November 7, 2017.
Source of Biography
Written by Norton Owen for Jacob's Pillow Remembers.