We mourn the passing of Deondrius Jayron Allen (49) with profound sorrow and heavy hearts.
Deon was a passionate and creative soul. Born April 17, 1974, in East St. Louis, Illinois, to Ms. Sheila Allen, Deon was drawn to dance as a means to express his joys and sorrows. As a young teen, he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to attend Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where he formally trained in numerous dance styles, including Modern, Tap, Ballet, Musical Theater, and African. Deon described this experience as opening "up a world of possibilities" for him–leading to a "single focus on classical ballet." At 16, Deon was granted a full scholarship to the Houston Ballet Academy, where he worked tirelessly. In 2 short years, then Artistic Director Ben Stevenson invited him to join the Houston Ballet.
Deon was a gifted performer, and audiences were naturally drawn to his exuberant energy and joy. After Houston Ballet, Deon had the opportunity to perform worldwide with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Les Ballets Eloelle/Grandiva, and The Metropolitan Opera. He especially enjoyed his travels to Japan as he loved the language, culture, and food.
With a larger-than-life personality, Deon made everyone around him feel special. He loved teaching dance and choreography and maintained close relationships with many former students. Deon challenged you to step outside your comfort zone as evident when he choreographed a Thanksgiving dance on his decidedly non-dancer nieces and nephews, complete with turkey headdresses.
Most recently, Deon lived in Philadelphia, where he enjoyed cooking gourmet meals, visiting art museums, and attending ballet and opera performances. He sat on advisory boards for the Philadelphia Ballet and the Opera Philadelphia to increase access to the arts for persons with disabilities. A role he was especially proud of was as a National Consumer Scholar with the Camden Coalition’s Amplify Speakers Bureau. As a patient advocate and person with lived experience in the medical system, Deon was involved in transformative conversations to change the way complex care is delivered. He was looking forward to attending for his second time the “Putting Care at the Center” annual conference of the Camden Coalition’s National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs. The following is an excerpt from some of his work,
“Despite all of the challenges I have faced, I have never given up hope. I know that I am a survivor, and I am determined to live my life to the fullest. I am grateful for the support of my family, friends, and medical team. They have helped me through some of the darkest times in my life, and I know that I could not have done it without them.
I am sharing my story because I want to inspire others. I want people to know that no matter what challenges they face, they can overcome them. I want people to know that they are not alone.”
人生 わ 夢 だらけ
Rest in peace Brother Deon and know that you were loved and never alone.
He was predeceased by his loving grandmother, Claudia Allen. He was survived by his mother Sheila Allen, sister Natunji “Bukki” West, uncle Bishop Bruce Allen and wife Minister Renita Allen. Nephews: D’Evian, Deon, and Dar’eon. Extended family: sisters Holly and Kit; Stephen, Shizuka, Yassine, and Victor; nieces and nephews–Charlie, Michael, Cameron, Sophie, and Alice. And, many close and dear friends.
A Celebration of Life in memory of Deon will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Deon’s memory to:
Camden Coalition, https://camdenhealth.org/donate/
Opera Philadelphia, https://www.operaphila.org/support/support-opera-philadelphia/
Philadelphia Ballet, https://tickets.philadelphiaballet.org/donate/#/levels//