Steps for Change
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance Rosalynde Loo leapt onto the LMU scene six years ago and has been helping students reach daring new heights in modern dance ever since. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Loo aims to share bold moves with a toe pointed towards social change.
“For me, teaching is about creating a classroom environment that is safe for discovery but also rigorous,” Loo said. “I want my students to understand that I’m not there to preach, but rather that I have a set of proven facts to share with them.”
Loo, who received her B.F.A from SUNY Purchase and an M.F.A. from Hollins University, was originally drawn to the bluff for its mission and focus on social justice issues, and views art as a great vehicle for social change.
“LMU has a great environment and community for it -- in particular our College of Communication and Fine Arts,” Loo said. “Our students are a good group of citizens who are focused, engaged and interested in high achievement.”
Before arriving on the bluff Loo left an indelible footprint on the dance world, performing alongside the likes of Bill T. Jones, and Mikhail Baryshnikov in his White Oak Dance Project. She also danced at the famed Metropolitan Opera House and worked as a freelance dancer with an array of notable choreographers, including Lucinda Childs, Richard Move, John Jasperse and Noemi LaFrance, among others.
Loo says she was first introduced to the art by her mother, who was also a dancer, and that her expressive nature coupled with natural athleticism made dance a perfect fit for her.
“It takes real tenacity to make it in the performing arts world,” Loo said. “You have to treat your art like you’re training to be an Olympic athlete.”
Loo is currently producing and co-directing a documentary called “Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters,” which traces the tale of LMU students as they dig deep to recreate the humanity, bravery and hope stemming from Bill T. Jones’ acclaimed 1989 piece, “D-Man in the Waters.”
“I danced the piece for years with Jones,” Loo said. “Now I’m having my students reconstruct the dance, foregrounded in the idea of dance as social action.”
She describes her teaching style as one that encourages academic and artistic discovery. Her courses include Fundamentals in Dance Composition, Modern Technique II and V, Repertory and Performance Studies and Rehearsal and Performance, among others.
As for what advice Loo has for incoming Lions?
“Don't overcommit yourself," Loo said. "The most impactful learning comes when you give yourself the space and the time to focus on your passions.”