The September issue of Dance Teacher Magazine, one of the nation’s premier dance publications, features a cover story on how dance and social justice are being combined at Loyola Marymount University by Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo, an assistant professor of dance in the College of Communication and Fine Arts.
LeBlanc Loo, a dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company from 1993-99, oversees an educational partnership between LMU and the dance company. The agreement allows the university to license two of Jones’ dances during the four years of the agreement, along with spring-semester intensives and summer workshops in technique, composition and repertory taught by a current member of the company.
The university and the dance troupe hope to inspire students with Jones’ choreography and mentorship.
LMU has long been a campus where social justice and community service are valued, and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s choreography often stresses social themes. LeBlanc Loo said the partnership is a perfect match.
“With many students there tends to be a divide between social awareness and a personal dance practice. I know there was for me when I was a student. Dancing was about my execution of ever-impressive skills, and then, outside the studio, there were the issues plaguing the rest of the world,” LeBlanc Loo said. “It was only upon seeing Bill T. Jones’ work that I realized that the two could come together – that dance could have the ability to articulate, comment on, and embody social issues in a uniquely powerful way.”
The first performance of Part 1 of “D-Man in the Waters,” a piece made during the height of the AIDS epidemic, is scheduled to be performed at LMU in November.
“Dance performance can be a form of social action,” LeBlanc Loo said. “So to bring Jones’ work to LMU students, young people who already value social-mindedness, helps to close the gap for them between the dancer in the mirror and the citizen of the world.”
Bryant Keith Alexander, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, echoes LeBlanc Loos’ sentiments. “This dance partnership in critical ways mirrors the university mission and the social justice work being done throughout the College of Communication and Fine Arts at LMU.”
Read the Dance Teacher Magazine article on Sept. 1 by visiting the website, dance-teacher.com.