Patsy Swayze: Choreographer who worked on the films 'Thelma and Louise' and 'Urban Cowboy'


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The Independent Online

Patsy Swayze, who died on 16 September at the age of 86, was a choreographer and dance instructor and the mother of the late actor Patrick Swayze. Her credits include such films as Urban Cowboy and Thelma and Louise, and she was also the founder and director of the highly acclaimed Houston Jazz-Ballet Company as well as teaching at the University of Houston for 18 years.

Born in 1927, Swayze taught dance for decades, her students including the dancing thespians Tommy Tune and Debbie Allen. She was also a choreographer for the Houston Playhouse Center and the Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet Company.

Her most prized accomplishment, she said however, was being mother of five children; she later worked with the elderly. "As part of the Silver Foxes, I've gone to different retirement villages and done television appearances to encourage people to get off the sofa, get busy and have fun," she said. "We don't have to be old. We can live life to the fullest, dancing, swimming, eating better and enjoying the benefits."

She moved to Simi Valley California in 1980 after choreographing Urban Cowboy – "It was rural, like Texas," she recalled. Her skills clearly rubbed off on her five children, all of whom became actors and dancers. Patrick Swayze, best known for Dirty Dancing and Ghost, died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer.