An audible gasp rose from the audience and dancers on stage Saturday night when Dean Giulio Ongaro made a special announcement at the conclusion of the Fall Dance Concert on December 4, 2021, in Musco Center for the Arts. The surprise news, that renowned choreographer and dancer Dwight Rhoden would join the Department of Dance next fall, was met with loud cheers and applause, capping an already breath-taking performance of premieres by guest composers, alumni and faculty.

The 2022–23 academic year was already expected to be a milestone for the dance department with the opening of its new Sandi Simon Center for Dance. The 28,000 square-foot state-of-the-art center expands the department’s learning and rehearsal space by 90%, far exceeding the recommended size by the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Rhoden is the founding artistic director and resident choreographer of the groundbreaking Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York and brings with him an international reputation as an innovator who embraces multicultural diversity in his work, having choreographed for television, film and theatre.

Read more here about Rhoden’s new role as artistic professor of dance at Chapman.