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Dance program garners 2nd NEA grant

December 19, 2007

ASU’s Herberger College Dance has received its second dance masterpieces grant this year from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance.

The annual award is given to select dance programs across the nation to pair professional dance artists with college students to reconstruct dances by notable choreographers and to share the work with the community beyond mere performance.

As one of just 25 dance programs to receive the grant, ASU Herberger College Dance will use the $10,000 award to support the restaging of Doug Varone’s Cantata next fall. Community programs will include performances in regional arts centers, conferences, workshops, and lectures and demonstrations for schools.

“It is such an honor to be chosen from so many worthy organizations around the country to receive this prestigious award,” says Simon Dove, ASU Herberger College Dance’s chair.

Dove left his position as director of the international contemporary dance festival, Springdance, in Utrecht, Netherlands, to become chair of ASU Herberger College Dance in August.

“To receive it for a second year truly is a testament to our program’s commitment to contemporary dance,” he says.

ASU Herberger College Dance received its first dance masterpiece grant in 2006 to reconstruct José Limón’s masterpiece, “Missa Brevis,” on the 50th anniversary of its creation. The award allowed Herberger College dance students to work with renowned Limón dancer Nina Watt on the piece, which was performed in April.

The project developed into a lasting partnership. Watt, recognized as “a perfect Limón dancer” by the New York Times and a 30-year veteran of the Limón Dance Co., continues to serve as an ASU Herberger College Dance visiting faculty member.

“José lived through his art,” Watt says. “He said, ‘To me, the theater is a temple.’ For that reason, I want to continue to do ‘Missa.’ It is gift to me, and I know what a wonderful experience it has been for the students. I want to help them find their gift, as José helped me.”