Dance Company announces new artistic director

Rockford Dance Company and its Board of Directors have announced that Matthew Keefe will assume the role of artistic director as of Jan. 9, 2012. He will have oversight of the School of Rockford Dance Company to provide a more cohesive and comprehensive curriculum.

Most recently serving as the production manager/ballet master at American Repertory Ballet in Princeton, N.J., Keefe is an accomplished teacher of ballet, modern, partnering, composition and jazz techniques. He serves as vice chairman on the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA and has a master of fine arts in dance from the University of Iowa. He has also served on the faculty at Louisville Ballet Academy, Minnetonka Dance Theater, the Princeton Ballet School, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and as the interim studio director of the Lackawanna Performing Arts Center, among others.

An acclaimed choreographer of more than 40 ballets, Keefe has created works for concert and commercial venues for both student ensembles and professional companies in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz and musical theater styles. He also has extensive administrative and production experience, having served as a development associate and event manager for George Street Playhouse and as a free-lance stage manager for several New York City-based dance productions.

Keefe’s dance career started in Chicago with The Lynda Martha Dance Company and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He then danced for numerous professional companies, including Ballet Met Columbus, Louisville Ballet, James Sewell Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Minnesota Opera, as well as numerous guest artist appearances around the country.

After an extensive search process, RDC is delighted that Matthew is joining our school and company,” said Laura Mruk, board president. “We are extremely excited about Matthew’s visionary leadership and the artistic energy that he will bring to RDC and to Rockford. He will continue and grow our legacy as the premier pre-professional dance company and school in northern Illinois.”

From the Dec. 21-27, 2011, issue

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