June 27, 1926
April 21, 2013
Paul Coates, 86, of La Mesa, California and formerly of Salado, passed away on April 21, 2013.
Paul Coates was born June 27, 1926 in Jersey City, New Jersey.
In Paul’s memory, donations may be sent to the foundation which supports the Dalai Lama’s efforts to spread peace and protect the culture of Tibet. The Dalai Lama Trust, 241 East 32nd Street, New York, NY, 10016.
He lived with his paternal grandparents and attended St. Aloysius High School. Paul loved to go to the museums near Central Park, NYC.
After graduating from high school, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served for two years, as a Quartermaster, on the U.S.S. New Hanover (AKA-73). The U.S.S. New Hanover saw action in the South Pacific during WWII. It sailed to San Francisco for repairs and it was there that Coates celebrated VJ Day.
After repairs, the U.S.S. New Hanover returned to Japan during the occupation period. He would later return to Japan in 1973.
After the war, Paul pursued a career in dance New York City. He made his debut with American Ballet Theatre, appearing with that company both in New York and on tour. He appeared in works such as “Giselle” and “Swan Lake.”
Taking a leave of absence from ABT in 1952, he worked with the State Fair Musicals in Dallas, where he danced featured roles and was assistant choreographer. On Broadway and on tour, Paul danced in “Paint Your Wagon” and appeared with Burl Ives, Shirley Booth, Joan Blondell and Maria Tallchief. Among his many television appearances have been the “Jackie Gleason Show” and the “Milton Berle Show.”
Coates moved to Shreveport, LA in 1954 and started a ballet academy from which he taught countless students for over 30 years. Eventually, he founded Shreveport Ballet Theatre. He choreographed and staged ballets and musicals, including his own version of Balanchine’s, “Serenade.”
He also introduced Shreveport to the practice of yoga in the early 1970’s. He would go each year to San Francisco to further his study and taught many students. As a devoted Buddhist, a highlight of Paul’s life was the privilege of having a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama while traveling in Nepal and India in 1973.
When Paul retired from teaching ballet, he lived in San Diego for a year before finding a lovely home in Salado. He started teaching yoga in Salado and Temple in 1994. His last yoga class in Salado was held at The Stagecoach Inn and his last class in Temple was held in June 2011 at the CAC. He made a special effort to bring yoga to elders and enjoyed seeing how it helped them stay active.
He moved back to the San Diego area (La Mesa) to be near his niece and nephew.
Coates is survived by his niece Peggy Graham of La Mesa, Calif., his nephew Steven Graham of Vista, Calif.