News release from the Fort Wayne Dance Collective:
The FWDC introduces new Artistic Director: Dancer and Choreographer John Byrne
(June 10, 2015) – The Fort Wayne Dance Collective (FWDC) is thrilled to announce that dancer and choreographer John Byrne has been hired as the organization’s incoming Artistic Director. Byrne will begin transitioning into the leadership role beginning September 1, 2015. Byrne is an alumnus of the North Carolina School of Arts, the Julliard School and the School of American Ballet. In addition to formal training, Byrne honed his dancing and choreography skills alongside artists like Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, and David Dorfman. Byrne spent several years as a member of the Taylor II Dance Company, working as a dancer, teacher and performer.
Byrne has performed in “West Side Story” at the La Scala Opera in Milan and the Beittedine Festival in Lebanon. He regularly collaborates with artist David LaChapelle to co-direct and create dance sequences in a variety of projects, including music videos for Florence + The Machine, Mariah Carey, Elton John and Lady Gaga. He also collaborated with production artists – including Ellen Von Unwerth and Annie Lebovitz – to creat campaigns for Sony, Target, the Gap, Smirnoff, Kate Spade, Pepsi, Clinique, H&M, The Super Bowl and the CBS show “2 Broke Girls.”
Byrne’s dance installations and performances have appeared in galleries and theaters worldwide. His past television appearances include “So You Think You Can Dance,” “First Dance,” the “Today” show and the “Oprah Winfrey Show.” He is the host of a Lionsgate dance/workout video, “Dirty Dancing: The Official Workout.”
Byrne is a longtime teacher at Education in Dance and the Related Arts, a nonprofit organization providing arts programs to underprivileged youth in New York. He is also a contributing writer for Dance Magazine and Dance Spirit Magazine. It was Byrne’s passion for sharing the joy and power of dancing that motivated his decision to seek the Artistic Director position at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective.
“As a young boy, I would immerse myself each summer at the American Dance Festival (ADF) in Durham, North Carolina,” says Byrne. “It was a dynamic refuge for artists to experiment, perform, teach, study and heal-without judgement. The Fort Wayne Dance Collective is the closest opportunity I have come across that aligns with the spirit of ADF, and yet FWDC operates year-round! This opportunity is literally a dream come true. I look forward to working with Fort Wayne’s multi-generational community of artists. I am excited to both support and cultivate the amazing programs that have been established by the incredible founders of the Dance Collective. Of course, I am also thrilled and quite eager to create new experiences with FWDC.”
As the outgoing Artistic Director and one of the FWDC’s founding members, Liz Monnier is pleased that the organization is gaining such a talented and experienced leader. “John’s amazing background will truly enhance the dance landscape in northeast Indiana,” says Monnier. “I am excited by the possibilities he brings to the Fort Wayne Dance Czollective and I look forward to working with him.”
Savannah Robinson, FWDC Board member and Search Committee Chair, echoed the excitement. “Finding an Artistic Director to fill the shoes of one of our founders has been a challenging and rewarding task,” she says. “After several months searching, we knew we found the right person when we met John. His diverse experience and ability to inspire people aligns with our mission. We are confident that both FWDC patrons and area residents will be moved by his leadership.”
About the Fort Wayne Dance Collective
The mission of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective (FWDC) is to inspire and empower people of all ages and abilities through movement and rhythm. Established in 1979 by five women looking for a creative outlet, FWDC has grown to include onsite and offsite classes, as well as outreach programming for pre-k through 12th-grade students and people with disabilities. In 2015, FWDC established the Healing Arts program in partnership with Parkview Health. FWDC serves more than 39,000 people annually with the support of four staff members, 30 sub-contracted instructors and more than 50 volunteers. FWDC believes that dancing is for all body types and abilities, all people should be given the opportunity to discover dance. FWDC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and a funded partner of Arts United. For more information, visit fwdc.org.