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August 26, 2013
Dear Dance Department Students, Parents, and Faculty:
Where has the time gone? It seems impossible that this is my 36th year at BTWHSPVA (Arts Magnet)
and my 39th year of teaching; my journey continues to be an incredible one. In the magical spirit of
ARTS, I want to welcome you to the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual
Arts Dance Family. As you begin 2013-2014, I would love for each of us to reflect on all the people
who got us to this place in our lives and who continue to help us achieve our dreams! All of you are
the reason I love this school and everything it stands for. The metamorphosis that each of us will
experience this year will be beyond what any of us can imagine and I am so excited as I know you are
to commit to a year of dedication to uncompromising excellence.
I want to continue the theme from last year:
“Redefining Excellence….Transforming our Futures!”
and add to this the theme for the Dance Guild:
Random Acts of Kindness…. Pass it On!
The dance faculty serves as the perfect role models each year by their efforts to transform
themselves as artists and educators and to give back to this community; this is why the
BTWHSPVA Dance Department has a national reputation! Just a few of the faculty accolades
We are committed to practicing “Random Acts of Kindness” in the Dance Department because it
builds a stronger sense of community. We started this at the end of the year! Even though it was
the last week of classes and we were in jury exams, the Dance Department, from a 9th-grade parent
suggestion under the leadership of Natalie Rafael, collected lose change to donate to the families of
the victims of the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. In just a few short days, we collected $200.00 for
this worthy cause and I hope we continue more acts of charity throughout the year.
Linda James continues her outreach with the Dance Council of North Texas as
editor of the award winning publication, DANCE, and is one of the applicants for a
fellowship-USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program.
Jennifer Mabus performed in the 3rd Season of the Bruce Wood Dance Project at the
City Performance Hall and is a member of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. She has
also decided to pursue graduate studies at Sam Houston State University
• Bridget Moore is in the process of working on several new works: a premiere for Dayton
Contemporary Dance Company 2013-14 Season and new works for A Gathering, the Aids
Benefit at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in October.
Kyle Richards continues to demonstrate his courage through his consistent work this
summer in rehabilitation from his stroke in order to come back stronger to
Kate Walker, artistic director of DecaDance, continues work on her master’s degree,
added Teaching Certifications in Speech and PE to her resumé, explored the realm of
aerial dance, and traveled to Scotland with her family.
Lily Cabatu Weiss attended the Dance USA Conference in Philadelphia as a Board
Member of TITAS, has been busy planning exciting guest residencies for the coming year,
has been commissioned to do a work for Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and is busy planning
her daughter’s wedding in January.
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts is in the heart of the most
exciting cultural arts districts in the nation and the possibilities are endless! As we look to the future
we must also reflect on the past. I remember in 1980 when the Dance Department hosted the
legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company along with John Cage and his musicians in an event
in the “big studios.” The dance and music students had master classes from these incredible artists
for one week! The list continued throughout the years with Lar Lubovitch, Bella Lewitzky, Repertory
Dance Theatre of Utah, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company,
Sharir Dance Company and renowned artists such as Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Paul Taylor,
Dwight Rhoden, Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, Twyla Tharp, Gregory Hines, Sidney Poitier, Ben
Vereen, and Marvin Hamlisch, among so many others. Our history goes back even further than this;
it began in 1922 as the first African-American High School in Dallas, Booker T. Washington High
School. The outpouring of pride and support of the BTWHS Alumni for BTWHSPVA is unparalleled;
at the dedication of our newly renovated and expanded BTWHSPVA, the last graduating class from
the original school took up three entire rows in the Montgomery Arts Theater! We should take pride
in the rich heritage that is Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts! I am
humbled by all the students, faculty, staff, and administrators who have graced these hallways and
who made an impact on my life.
As we embark on a new year together, I have an even stronger commitment to building a program
with a solid foundation in the classic forms of dance while we attempt to push the envelope and build
a cutting-edge curriculum filled with creative collaborations. I want to thank Nash Flores and all the
leaders of the Arts Magnet Advisory Board, the staff, and our current chairperson, Matrice Ellis-Kirk
(and many others) for the “heart and soul” that they continue to pour into Booker T. Washington
HSPVA! A very special thanks goes to Charles Santos, Executive Director of TITAS, for his tireless
efforts on behalf of the BTW Dance Department! I am constantly inspired by the contributions from
the Dance Guild parents! I also want to thank all of our past principals for their service to the school
as I welcome our newest principal, Dr. Scott Rudes! His leadership is proving to be inspiring,
thoughtful, and driven and I am looking forward to working with him! Additional thanks go to the DISD
Administration & Dr. Liliana Valadez, our Executive Director, for allowing us to participate in the
Principal Selection process. Finally, I want to thank you for trusting us with the responsibility of your
education in the arts and academics!
Let’s work together to build on the foundation of the past and imagine the possibilities for our future!
Lily Cabatu Weiss
Dance Department Chair
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts