Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Ask the Professor: Edward Truitt

Dylan Green

Edward Truitt is a professor of dance in the Department of Art, Theatre and Dance at the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities at West Texas A&M University. Professor Truitt teaches courses in ballet and jazz technique, choreography, dance history, partnering and Somatics (yoga).

Professor Truitt began his college career majoring in theatre. When he heard that an actor who can dance is more employable, he attended his first dance class.

“I fell in love with dance because it was so much like acting and athletics in one little package and I went from a theatre major to a double major in dance,” Professor Truitt said. “I was seen in a performance at college by a director of a new company and then was offered a position in the company when I was a junior, and so I danced with the company as a junior and a senior.”

Professor Truitt connected with Vadim Kasparov and Natalia Kasparova in a chat room in the late 90s.
“And we started talking about a collaboration and they invited me to do some guest teaching,” Professor Truitt said. “I went [to] St. Petersburg for 10 days and had a great time teaching, and they decided to create Open Look International Dance Festival because of the success of that workshop. I took WT dancers there in 2004, but Open Look is now the premier contemporary dance workshop and performance venue in St. Petersburg, Russia, after 20 years. So, had my workshop not been successful, they might not have done it because they attracted dancers from all over Russia.”

Professor Truitt described his choreography style as “fluid.”

Professor Edward Truitt in his office in the Mary Moody Northen Hall. (Jo Early)

“I utilize ballet technique, jazz technique, modern technique and contemporary ballet as I see fit for the particular piece,” Professor Truitt said. “For example, this spring, I’m restaging an older work of mine called Butterfly Sighs. It’s a dance about love and how love can be addicting and how there’s different kinds of love. You know, young love, older love that’s in a bad cycle, destructive. And experimental love, there’s just different kinds of love. And it uses ballet technique on point. It uses jazz technique, Horton technique, so a variety of different styles.”

Professor Truitt said his teaching style was influenced by his mentors, including Katharyn Horne, a proponent of the Cecchetti method and Cecchetti style and Glenn White, a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet.

“I’ve had a lot of different teachers and I utilize different methods from different teachers that I thought were really sound and really helpful in developing dancers,” Professor Truitt said. “I think that’s the most important thing. One of the things I tell my students is, there’s lots of different ways to peel an orange; the important thing is to get to the fruit. There’s lots of different ways to develop dancers, but the most important thing is that they develop well to become successful.”

According to Professor Truitt, practice is key to developing as a dance student.

“I usually tell them, ‘Look, we don’t have any written homework,’ in a technique class,” Professor Truitt said. “You do in a dance history class, just like any history class, but in a technique class, your homework is to work on your own; what we’ve done today, so work on things. If you’re having trouble with pirouettes, you need to work on them your own. You need to break it down into the basic fundamentals that you’ve been taught. And practice, practice, practice.”

Professor Truitt encourages people to watch WT’s dance performances, such as Portraits of Dance, which opens in late April.

“We have really lovely students of WT that are very talented,” Professor Truitt said. “And it’s just a joy to work with them and to help them evolve and develop into professional dancers or teachers are choreographers. I think the Dance Program is a little hidden gem at the University. It’s not necessarily known about across the University the way that Ag program might be, or the way the education program might be or the even the music program. It is a little gem in the raw right here that we have. And I really hope that people would come and see our performances coming up.”

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About the Contributors
Jo Early
Jo Early, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Jo Early and I am a senior digital communication & media major from Amarillo. I transferred from Amarillo College in Spring 2023 and began working as editor-in-chief in Fall 2023. I want to inform the West Texas A&M Community and spotlight student resources. In the future, I hope to work for NPR.
Dylan Green
Dylan Green, Graphic Designer
Hi, my name is Dylan Green! I’m a senior Graphic Design major, and have worked with The Prairie News since Spring 2023. My career goal is to do design work for the music industry or other arts-related fields. I enjoy collecting vinyl records, listening to music, and making art in my free time.

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