Mills Alumna Deborah Vaughan Awarded Prize for Innovation in Dance

Oakland, CA—April 17, 2017

Mills College alumna Deborah Vaughan ’71 was awarded the Della Davidson Prize by Dancers Group, a San Francisco Bay Area arts nonprofit focused on promoting dance through sponsorships and outreach.  

Vaughan, who received a master of arts in dance from Mills College, is co-founder and artistic director of Dimension Dance Theater in Oakland whose members create, perform and teach dance from the African diaspora.

“I’m so honored and pleased, shocked really,” Vaughan said of the award. “These are such forward thinking people who are continuing Della’s work. She was an outstanding artist and she touched so many lives. What we do is not in the mainstream, it’s not ballet or modern dance, so I’m greatly appreciative.”

Vaughan has fond memories of earning her master’s degree in dance at Mills.

“Mills was a place where you were encouraged and nurtured,” Vaughan said. “It was a great experience for me because I had the freedom to do research and to study and investigate all that I wanted. That was wonderful.”

The Della Davidson Prize honors the life and work of the late choreographer and teacher Della Davidson by supporting innovative dance and dance-theater artists. It comes with a $1,220 prize -and will be awarded during Dancers Group Bay Area Dance Week April 21-30. Davidson created dance works that explored the presence of women using images and storytelling, according to Dancers Group. She created over 40 works and was a professor of theater and dance at UC Davis and was artistic director of Della Davidson Dance Theater and Sideshow Physical Theater. She died in 2012.