The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU dancers celebrate Myra Woodruff’s legacy

Mikaila Neverson
A portrait of former SMU professor Myra Woodruff at her reception.

Some students left for spring break early, but dancers participating in SMU Meadow’s Dance Concert this semester stayed March 6 through 10.

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts put on its semesterly dance performance earlier this month.

Not only was it a celebration of the work, time and dedication students put into their pieces, it was a celebration of SMU’s former dance professor, Myra Woodruff.

This year, Meadows’ Dance Division gathered the best talent to the stage and gave the audience another riveting performance.

SMU Chair of Dance Division Christopher Dolder gives a speech honoring Myra Woodruff. (Mikaila Neverson)

Choreographers Stephanie Martinez, Cameron McKinney and SMU’s own Alvon Reed were sought after to create the tone of the show.

The first piece, Something to Remember You By, showcased Martinez’ choreography. This piece explored the dichotomy of celebrating a loved one’s life while grieving.

Following was McKinney’s piece The Facade of Order. A moving piece, examined the complexity of humanity using modern dance techniques, resulting in a gripping performance.

The final piece of the evening was Reed’s And Then There Was Me which stood out from the other performances. Featuring live music, this piece included the full dance ensemble performing to an array of music, including Michael Jackson’s rendition of Come Together by the Beatles.

Overall, the students didn’t fail to amaze with their precise technique and flawless execution of dance moves.

SMU dance alum, Caitlain Negron, said she enjoyed seeing the new generation of dancers at her alma mater.

“It was great to see a different kind of repertoire than when I was in school. Clearly, the level of training and versatility of the dancers is so high and it’s so wonderful to come back and see that.”

SMU Spring 2024 Dance Concert program and ticket. (Mikaila Neverson)

Janicka Arthur, an SMU alum, echoed the same sentiment and appreciation for the show.

“The performance was beautiful. It is an honor to have graduated from SMU and it’s important to come back and see the lineage of SMU.”

Following the show was a reception for Myra Woodruff, a beloved professor and colleague of many in SMU’s dance department.

A table filled with snacks and refreshments at a ceremony honoring SMU former professor Myra Woodruff (Mikaila Neverson)

Woodruff passed away on August 23, 2023.

Students, alumni, family and friends all gathered to celebrate the life, work and impact of Woodruff in the dance division.

She was a professor to many of the students in the dance division, an inspiration to those who had the opportunity to share the same spaces she did, but above that, Myra Woodruff was a friend to all.

SMU junior and dance double major, Abigail Baden, recalled her interactions with Woodruff as memories she won’t forget.

“My first interaction with Myra was in Modern Dance I the first semester of my freshman year. I grew to admire her unlike anyone I had met before. She was a dedicated artist and mentor and was truly my biggest fan.”

She was described as someone who cared deeply about her students, someone who worked tirelessly on technique and someone who unified the SMU dance community with her kindness and determination.

Baden also shared an experience with Woodruff that has since encouraged her to keep pursuing her dance career.

“Before my first big show at SMU in the spring semester of 2022, I was sick with pneumonia and bronchitis. I emailed her about it and she gave me her personal phone number to talk with her. At the next show, she spoke to my family and told them she believed I could have a wonderful career in dance, much like herself. From that moment forward, and especially after her death, I have become the most dedicated I’ve ever been to dance and am hoping to follow in her footsteps.”

Woodruff’s care and compassion for the dance community continue to fuel the determination of students to achieve greatness beyond SMU; her spirit lives on in every class, student, and performance.

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About the Contributor
Mikaila Neverson
Mikaila Neverson, News Editor
As news editor, Mikaila covers issues and events that affect students on campus. She keeps students updated on the news that matters most. Whether it be breaking news or campus events, she keeps students updated with what they need to know. She also has a penchant for podcasting and food writing.