WMU News

Lindsey A. Thomas

Oct. 6, 2003

Lindsey A. Thomas, who officially resigned as a professor of dance at Western Michigan University July 31, died Oct. 1, following a one-year battle with cancer. She was 51.

A member of the dance faculty at WMU since 1979, Thomas was responsible for developing the jazz dance program to a level of international recognition.

She received numerous professional awards, including: Michigan Dance Teacher of the Year (1988), the Leo "Gold Shoe" Award for excellence in jazz dance choreography (1997) and third place in the jazz/hip hop category at the Prague Dance Festival (2000). Thomas also received many choreographic commissions and presented many workshops and master classes for professional dance companies, studios, universities and community organizations across the country.

Thomas was also the dance representative to the interdisciplinary Music Theatre Performance BFA program at WMU for many years. Her music theatre choreography for the University Theatre, area schools and community organizations spanned 25 years and received critical acclaim.

Thomas energetically served both the university and community and, in 1999, she received the College of Fine Arts Outstanding Service Award. Many dance studios and theatre organizations in the region relied on Thomas to recommend WMU students for positions as teachers and musical theatre choreographers.

As a certified fitness instructor, she taught aerobics for both the Kalamazoo and Portage YMCAs and taught special classes in folk, ballroom, tap, jazz and swing dancing at public schools, dance studios and summer arts camps throughout Southwest Michigan.

Thomas received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Michigan University.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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