← View All Articles

Jason Rapp

Charleston arts community loses ‘Big Buddha’

Don Cantwell passes away at 85


The week is closing on a somber note in the Lowcountry.

Don CantwellThe Post & Courier is reporting this morning that Don Cantwell, Charleston Ballet Theatre's longtime artistic director, passed away from complications of cancer. From Maura Hogan:

Acclaimed for raising the bar of dance throughout his native Charleston and beyond, Cantwell for decades served as the visionary, yet strikingly unassuming leader of Charleston Ballet Theatre, working alongside his wife, dancer and dance instructor Patricia Cantwell, and the company’s choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr.

Known for both his quiet nature and outsize imagination, Cantwell is remembered for cutting a towering, elegant figure. However, even with such stature and presence, the lifelong disciple of dance was said to possess a humility that at times belied the magnitude of his artistry. Those attributes, as well as his twinkling humor, compelled many who knew him to refer to him as “Big Buddha.” 

Read Hogan's full report on the Post & Courier website here. (Subscription might be required.)