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Rose Anne Thom, RIP

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Rose Anne Thom, dance writer, historian, and teacher, primarily at Sarah Lawrence College, died on Saturday, July 21st, according to a former student of hers.

For a fair number of years, Rose Anne was regular reviewer at DANCE MAGAZINE.

There are tentative plans to celebrate Rose Anne's life in the fall.

 

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Sad news has to travel -- Rose Anne was one of my teachers in grad school, nudging me towards working as a dance writer.  We didn't always agree, which in retrospect was probably the best part of the relationship, because she helped me learn to argue, and bring examples to support my opinions.

I heard about this earlier in the week, and found this panel discussion on dance criticism from 2015 -- there are many good things here, but I listened for her voice in particular, and came away with this:

"The critic serves the work as perceived, not the choreographer's description of it." 

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I studied with Rose Anne as well. I wasn't a writer then, but a dancer. She knew my love of Balanchine and arranged for me to learn the Bransle Gay from Agon. I reconstructed it from Labanotation, which I had studied with her. She coached me and I danced it on demi-pointe during an informal performance for the full dance department my senior year at SLC. She was such a committed teacher, dance historian and writer. I wish I'd been able to see her before she passed. RIP Rose Anne.

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That sounds like something she would love to do -- I took dance history with her at the same time as I was working on notation, and she would often set our reading assignments in notation class based on whomever we were discussing in history.

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