Cover photo for Ingeborg Heuser's Obituary
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1928 Ingeborg 2022

Ingeborg Heuser

April 14, 1928 — February 14, 2022

Ingeborg Heuser, noted classical ballet teacher, choreographer and designer, passed away on February 14, 2022 in El Paso surrounded by her loving family and caregivers. She was founder and director of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) ballet degree program, Texas Western Civic Ballet (the first professional ballet company in Texas), University Civic Ballet, Ballet El Paso, and Ballet of the Americas. Her productions graced performance venues in El Paso, Juarez and beyond. Although her journey began in Germany, she loved the Paso del Norte region with all her heart. Born and raised in Berlin, she became a protégé of famed artist Tatjana Gsovsky, joined the ballet of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and became a rising star and soloist. She acted in major films in the UFA Studios and formed a lifelong friendship with the noted film dance star, Valentin Froman. Surviving the horrors and destruction of World War II, she emigrated to the United States in 1948 and found her way to the University of Arizona where she studied and began a new life in her beloved desert southwest. She arrived in El Paso/Juarez in 1953, and opened her dance studio, the Ballet Centre, in 1955. Joining the faculty of Texas Western College (UTEP) in 1960, she became a tenured professor and retired in 2007. Inspired by her example as a trailblazing woman leader and entrepreneur, her former students include professional dancers, artistic directors, teachers, choreographers, writers, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, and architects around the world. Ms. Heuser was an innovative and prolific choreographer, whose works include The Firebird, Cinderella, The Red Shoes, The Miraculous Mandarin, Huapango, Carmen, Pineapple Poll, Pulcinella, Scheherazade, Peter and the Wolf, and her incomparable The Nutcracker, the first in Texas. An international emissary, she brought many celebrated artists to the U.S., some of whom made it their home. Her dear relationship with Gert Reinholm, Director of the Berlin Ballet, led to co-productions with logistics facilitated by the German Air Force. She was with Reinholm and the Director of the East German Staatsoper Ballet in a historic meeting in East Berlin before the Wall fell. A love of Mexico brought close ties, tours, and collaborations across Latin America, including the first tour of Mexico by a U.S. performing arts organization, sponsored by the federal arts ministry, and the first U.S. co-production with the National Ballet of Mexico. Among her many awards, Ms. Heuser served on the Dance Advisory Panel for the Texas Commission on the Arts, the El Paso Star on the Mountain, the first “Spirit of El Paso” award, “Woman of the Year” by the El Paso Women’s Political Caucus, YWCA Reach Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts and the El Paso Commission on Women’s Hall of Fame. She is survived by her sons, Joseph Weissmiller and Christian Blackwell, her daughter-in-law, Jorie Ewald Blackwell, and her grandsons, Alex Blackwell and Johann Blackwell. She is preceded in death by her mother and stepfather, Eleonore and Alfred, and her devoted assistant and companion, María de Jesús Bernal. She also leaves behind thousands of former students, admirers, and friends who celebrate her life and are grateful for the gifts of dance and the arts that she shared with them. On Saturday, February 26, 2022, her family and friends will gather to celebrate her life beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Clement, 810 N. Campbell, El Paso, Texas 79902 with burial immediately following at Memory Gardens of the Valley, 4900 McNutt Rd, Santa Teresa, NM 88008. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Ingeborg Heuser Endowed Scholarship at UTEP through the Office of Institutional Advancement or in her memory to the charity of your choice. Services entrusted to Sunset Funeral Homes- East. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Ingeborg Heuser please visit our Sympathy Store.
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