Graduates from the Mills Dance Program go on to successful and varied careers in all aspects of the field. Many of our graduates form their own companies and pursue careers on the national or international dance scene, while remaining connected to Mills. Renowned choreographer and MacArthur Genius Fellow Trisha Brown ’54 visits our Dance Department when she is performing in the area. Molissa Fenley ’75 returns annually for a semester to teach choreography and create repertory for students. She has won the American Academy of Rome Prize, received two “Bessie” awards for choreography, and has been commissioned to make work all over the world.
Others teach dance and choreography at esteemed universities across the country or make their mark in innovative ways. Some of our visionary alumnae—like Allison Orr and Patricia Reedy—have created one-of-a-kind organizations that expand the reach of dance to new audiences:
This award-winning company was created in 2001 by Allison Orr, who believes that everyone is a dancer. As the artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, she has created work for Elvis impersonators, firefighters, and seeing-eye dogs and their owners. In the MFA program at Mills, she began making dances for “nontraditional” dancers and has since gone on to receive the 2003 Austin Critics Table Award and was nominated for a 2004 Alpert Award, a significant distinction for such a young choreographer. Her work has been presented all over the US and abroad, including the International VSA Arts Festival and the Spoleto Festival in Venice where she created a dance for gondoliers and their boats. www.forkliftdanceworks.org
Luna Kids Dance (LKD)
Determined to create a new model for dance education in America, Luna Kids Dance was established in 1992 by Nancy Ng, Patricia Reedy, Julie Regalado, and Lori O. Lara, four Mills alumnae from the Dance and Education Programs. They have served as consultants statewide and nationally to help create, build, and assess standards-based dance programs that keep creativity and equity at the core of learning. LKD also founded Moving Parents and Children Together (MPACT), which uses dance to build bonds between children and parents in the dependency system. LKD has grown from a local children's dance program into a nationally recognized dance education organization, serving over 18,000 children and 250 artists, teachers, and social service providers last year. In 2006, LKD opened the California Institute for Dance Learning, the first of its kind in the country. LKD professional development staff credits Mills with providing a fertile environment for artistic and professional connections and hails Mills for the supportive connection it has maintained with its alumnae. www.lunakidsdance.com