Florence Lessing

Featured dancer on Broadway and ballet stages

Florence Lessing, featured dancer on Broadway and ballet stages as well in clubs and films and a favorite of eclectic choreographer Jack Cole (“Kismet”), died Sept. 5 of kidney failure in New York. She was 86.

Cole formed a dance trio with the teen and her dance teacher, Anna Austin, and performed at the Rainbow Room in 1938. In Hollywood they performed Cole’s dances in the musical “Moon Over Miami”; she later appeared in the pic “Just for You.” Doris Humphrey created the Aaron Copland-scored “El Salon Mexico” for Lessing and Jose Limon. Broadway credits include “Windy City,” “Sailor Beware” and “Kismet.”

Lessing choreographed two of her own nightclub acts, founded the New York Academy of Ballet, taught at various schools and helped reconstruct Cole’s choreography for the American Dance Machine.

Survivors include husband Tito Enrique Canepa, a son and a daughter.

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