U modern dancer is national “outstanding student performer”

Jill Patterson, a recent Master of Fine Arts graduate from the U’s modern dance department exemplifies an accomplished student-athlete.

She earned a $1,000 prize and the title of “Outstanding Student Performer” at the National College Dance Festival, sponsored by the American College Dance Festival Association, held in June at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Patterson and fellow U dancer Nathan Shaw performed the award-winning duet, “House of Timothy,” choreographed by U student Natosha Washington, who was also recognized for her choreography.

The piece was one of only three dances selected for performance in the festival through a multi-tiered judging process. It began with the Northwest Regional American College Dance Festival, hosted by the U.

“There was only one other dance at the National Festival at the Kennedy Center nominated for both outstanding student performer and outstanding student choreographer,” said Associate Professor Brent Schneider.

“Jill’s amazing performance abilities were enhanced by Natosha Washington’s stunning choreography.”

Patterson manages to balance a loaded daily schedule that includes class, a part-time job and she typically spends five to six hours each day at on- and off-campus rehearsals.

“That Jill received this award is a great acknowledgment of her achievements as well as the quality of the program at the University of Utah department of modern dance,” Schneider said.

Patterson is currently dancing with the local Ririe Woodbury Dance Company and hopes to eventually become a professor.

“She’s a lovely teacher,” Schneider said, “and an amazing, mature artist. Her artistry is beyond skin-deep.”

“You can’t tear your eyes away from her burning passion that radiates from the inside out,” Schneider said.

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