Arts & Culture
6:58 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Bruce Wood, Prominent North Texas Choreographer, Has Died

The founder of the Bruce Wood Dance Project, perhaps the most esteemed choreographer in North Texas, has died of complications from pneumonia and heart failure. He was 53.

Bruce Wood, a prominent North Texas choreographer, has died. He was 53.
Bruce Wood, a prominent North Texas choreographer, has died. He was 53.

Wood's death was unexpected. He had finished work on a new piece honoring Ann Williams, the retiring founder of Dallas Black Dance Theatre for a gala two weeks ago. He had also been preparing Touch, the next show of the Bruce Wood Dance Project scheduled for June 12-13 at the City Performance Hall.

Gayle Halperin, president of BWDP, said the new show would go ahead as planned.

Here's a press release with details:

Esteemed choreographer, friend, and master teacher; Bruce Wood experienced complications from pneumonia and died of heart failure, with his family by his side, on Wednesday, May 28. His death was sudden and unexpected. He was 53.

Wood was a maker of dances that had tremendous impact on thousands of lives. As artistic director and sole choreographer of Bruce Wood Dance Company from 1996-2007 and Bruce Wood Dance Project from 2010 – current, the work lives on. The next BWDP performance carries-on at the Dallas City Performance Hall on June 12-13, 2014.

He is survived by his mother and two siblings. The family has asked that donations be made Bruce Wood Dance Project (www.brucewoodance.org) in lieu of flowers.

Read more on KERA's Art&Seek, including reaction from the North Texas arts community.

Watch Wood speak and introduce a dance at a TedxSMU event in 2011:  

 

The Bruce Wood Dance Project website features this quotation from Wood: “If we have ever caused someone to rethink their own beliefs about something, or helped someone look at a subject with new understanding and tolerance, or simply reminded someone of their own abilities, then we have begun to fulfill our mission.”

Wood's bio from the Bruce Wood Dance Project:

Bruce Wood makes dances. Wood is a nationally acclaimed artistic director, choreographer, and teacher. Over the past 16 years, Wood has created 75+ works for the Bruce Wood Dance Company (1996 to 2007) and since 2011—the Bruce Wood Dance Project. Wood has been commissioned by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas Ballet Theater, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, and Southern Methodist University. For the grand opening of the RiverCenter Performing Arts in Columbus, Georgia; Wood was invited to create Follow Me in tribute to the soldiers of Fort Bragg and the United Stated Infantry. In 2010, Wood was honored by the Dance Council of North Texas with the prestigious Mary Bywaters Award for Lifetime Achievement to Dance.

Growing up in Fort Worth, Wood began dancing at the Gayle Corkery Studio. At age 16, he left on a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet under the tutelage of the legendary George Balanchine. Over a period of 15 years, he performed with New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Les Ballet Jazz des Montreal, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. As a distinguished guest artist, Wood worked with Margie Gillis, Stephanie Ballard and Dancers, Contemporary Dance Canada, Charles Moulton Dance, and DV8 Physical Dance in London.

Wood's work through the years

Read about Wood and his various projects from Art&Seek:

Here's video of Wood as guest choreographer during a rehearsal at SMU:

Here's video of a rehearsal for Bruce Wood's 'Our Last Lost Chance:'