Steps for Change
Associate Professor and Chair of Dance Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo leapt onto the LMU scene eight years ago and has been helping students reach daring new heights in modern dance ever since. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, LeBlanc 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,” LeBlanc 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.”
LeBlanc 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 LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts,” LeBlanc Loo said. “Our students are a good group of citizens who are focused, engaged and interested in high achievement.”
Before arriving on the bluff LeBlanc 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, Joachim Schloemer and Noemi LaFrance, among others.
LeBlanc 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,” LeBlanc Loo said. “You have to treat your art like you’re training to be an Olympic athlete.”
LeBlanc 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.” It is due for release later this year.
“I danced the piece for years with Jones,” LeBlanc 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 LeBlanc Loo has for incoming Lions?
“Don’t over-commit yourself,” she said. “The most impactful learning comes when you give yourself the space and the time to focus of you passions.”