Rockford Dance Company artistic directer to move to Minneapolis

Online Staff Report

Artistic Director Matthew Keefe has announced his resignation from the Rockford Dance Company (RDC) following the 2013/14 Gala Season. He plans to return to his hometown of Minneapolis with his wife, Brittany, to raise their infant daughter, Olive, and be closer to his immediate family.

In his two years with the RDC, Keefe brought new and innovative performances to Rockford audiences, including Bold Moves, the collaboration with Fatally Unique, Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center and Rockford Music Academy. Under his leadership, RDC’s school increased enrollment by 76 percent.

Executive Director Cindy Jo Lantz said: “We are very sorry to see the Keefes leave Rockford. This has been an excellent relationship. Matthew brought new ideas and exciting energy to the organization. We understand that their family situation is at the forefront of this decision, and while we are sad to see them leave, we are very glad to have them with us through our Gala season. A search committee has been formed to begin the process of recruiting a new artistic director, and Matthew will serve on the committee.”

Keefe came to the RDC in 2011. He said: “Rockford Dance Company, the Coronado Performing Arts Center and the artistic community are huge assets to the Rockford community. RDC’s legacy in the community, the five beautiful dance studios in the Riverfront Museum Park, and the beautiful Coronado Theatre inspired me to come to Rockford. It was an opportunity to do the work I love and make a difference in this community. I truly love living here and appreciate everything Rockford has to offer; leading this organization has been a dream job. Raising a child has made me realize the importance of having family support, and not having family in Rockford has made raising our daughter, and doing this job to the level I demand of myself, exceedingly difficult.

Most of my family lives in the Twin Cities,” Keefe continued. “We own a home in Minneapolis; many of my cousins are raising children in the area, and it is important to me that our daughter grows up around her family. This decision was not easy, and doesn’t come without regret, but I must do what is best, both for RDC and my family, in the long run. I am committed to the continued success of Rockford Dance Company, and look forward to the opportunity to help the search committee find the best candidate to lead this organization into the next 40 years.”

The Keefes will continue to support the Gala Season, which includes the following performances:

• The Nutcracker, with Rockford Symphony Orchestra and alumna April Day, at 7 p.m., Dec. 7, and 3 p.m., Dec. 8, at Coronado Performing Arts Center.

• Which Witch is Which?, a dance performance for children of all ages, at 1, 3 and 7 p.m., Jan. 18, and 2 and 4 p.m., Jan. 19, in Kresge Hall, Riverfront Museum Park.

The 40th Anniversary Ruby Jubilee Gala Dance Performance Extravaganza, at 8 p.m., April 5, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

Posted Oct. 9, 2013

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