SPS Today: Meet Kate Lydon
SPSBC Welcomes Former ABT Artistic Director
The boundless potential of the SPS Dance Program drew Kate Lydon to the School as its new director of dance. Lydon arrived on campus this summer, after a stint as artistic director of American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT’s) Studio Company for five years and its Summer Intensive Program for the last two years. With the departure of Jennifer Howard ’92, who is now teaching at Colorado Conservatory of Dance in Broomfield, Colo., Lydon takes over a program that has continued to expand its repertoire beyond classical ballet and into modern dance.
“The dancers who come to St. Paul’s are talented and gifted in dance, but are also engaged in the best educational experiences in the country,” said Lydon. “I’m thrilled to work with students and continue the tradition of bringing in incredible choreographers and visiting artists.” Lydon brings an extensive dance background to the role. She trained at San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s School of Classical Ballet under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. As artistic director of ABT’s Studio Company, Lydon trained a select group of dancers, ages 16 to 20, from around the world, while commissioning new works. Approximately one third of ABT dancers, including principals and soloists, have gone through the ABT Studio Company. Lydon is also the former editor-in-chief of Dance Spirit magazine and has served as a contributing writer and editor-at-large for several Dance Media publications.
At SPS, Lydon will work with dancers in the audition-based SPSBC and continue the Visiting Artists Program, a workshop series that brings instructors and choreographers to Concord to work with the SPSBC. Past mentors have included members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New York City Ballet, and Miami City Ballet. “[Kate’s] accomplishments as both a dancer and teacher with ABT distinguished her as an outstanding candidate for this position,” said Vice Rector for Faculty Michael Spencer. “This is only surpassed by the genuine kindness, professionalism, and positive energy she brings to her work inspiring the next generation of dancers.”
Under Lydon’s direction, the SPSBC prepared excerpts from Don Quixote for its Family Weekend performance. The program also welcomed visiting artist Elizabeth Dement for a fall choreographic workshop. Dement works very closely with Annie-B Parson and Big Dance Theater, whose experimental works often combine dance, drama, and literature. The SPS workshop focused, in part, on how text and dance can be used together in choreography.