Reed: Finding stillness through movement

“I want to give students an opportunity to move, to connect with their bodies. I also want to establish connections between Cornell and the dance community—connections that help our students navigate through the often-difficult arts profession.”

Photo by Envisage Studios
Photo by Envisage Studios

Alvon Reed, Cornell’s new dance artist in residence, comes to Cornell committed to jump-starting the dance program and to help lay the foundation for the department’s expansion into musical theatre.

Reed got his first taste of dance at an assembly at his high school in Rialto, California, and was captivated by the cohesiveness and camaraderie of the dancers. He began taking private lessons, where he was taught the importance of a masculine presence on stage—a component of performance he says he works to instill in young aspiring male artists.

Reed had no thoughts of a career in dance when he boarded the bus for the 36-hour journey to Iowa for college. He says he chose Coe because he wanted to have an experience “outside of my social norm.” He majored in Spanish, but took every dance course the college offered, took private lessons in Cedar Rapids, and spent summers training in classical ballet at the Milwaukee Ballet School. “In dance,” he says, “I found stillness through movement.”

Following college Reed headed to New York with a fellowship to the Ailey School, then worked 16 years as a professional dancer. Eventually he returned to Iowa to pursue a master of fine arts degree.

Path to Cornell

Born: Los Angeles, California

High School: Private dance lessons Eisenhower High School Dance Team

Degrees/training: B.A. (Spanish), Coe College; Milwaukee Ballet School (summers); M.F.A., University of Iowa (emphasis on choreography)

Fellowship: The Ailey School, New York City

Professional dancing: Norwegian Cruise Lines, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Opus Dance Theatre, Nevada Ballet, Walt Disney World, Arena Stages, Inland Pacific Ballet, Commercials for Sharp Electronics, Microsoft, Puma and UTV.