PHOTO BY SHAREN BRADFORD
PHOTO BY SHAREN BRADFORD
Bruce Wood® was a nationally acclaimed choreographer of 80 works from 1994 until his untimely death in 2014. He was a passionate artist driven by a maverick spirit. He poured his heart and soul into his dances, and loved being in the dance studio working with his dancers.
Bruce Wood’s professional dance career spanned 35 years. He began his training at the Gayle Corkery School in Fort Worth. At age 16, he received a scholarship to a summer intensive in New York at the School of American Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. Among the companies he went on to perform with are New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. He toured the world 10 times with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. As a guest artist, he performed internationally with DV8 Physical Dance in London, Contemporary Dance Canada, and in Canada with Margie Gillis.
Wood returned to Texas, creating his first work in Austin in 1994. He then moved home to Fort Worth and founded the Bruce Wood Dance Company, where he was artistic director and sole choreographer from 1996 to 2007. Bruce Wood Dance Company presented annual seasons at Bass Hall in Fort Worth; was on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster; and went on three national tours. Wood created works to a vast range of music—from Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, and Gershwin, to Philip Glass, Lyle Lovett, and Grace Slick. Proud of his Texas heritage, he created Lovett!; Dust, Texas; and Cowboy Songs. The latter was a full–evening work set to live music by country/western singer Michael Martin Murphey. In 2004, Wood was commissioned to create a work in honor of the United States Army infantry. Follow Me premiered at the RiverCenter in Columbus, Georgia. Among Wood’s many commissions are Orlando Ballet; Dallas Black Dance Theatre; Texas Ballet Theater; SMU Meadows School of the Arts; and TITAS Command Performance.
In 2010, Wood and a group of Dallas investors formed the Bruce Wood Dance Project. Over five years, Wood created a body of new, acclaimed work, mentored professional dancers, and produced shows at the Dallas City Performance Hall. Wood’s favorite saying was, “It’s about the work.” He had an aesthetic that set his work apart. He drew his subject matter from human nature, distilling the ups and downs, and the loves and the losses of daily life into pieces that range from dramatic to comic, compassionate to hilarious, psychological to pedestrian. All the elements—dancers, movements, lights, music, costumes—work together seamlessly. Wood’s productions are transformative; they resonate with audiences and leave lasting memories. He was particular about the transition from studio to stage, and for Bruce Wood Dance Project, Wood renewed his collaborations with renowned lighting designer Tony Tucci, costume designer John Ahrens, and production director Deborah Barr.
Wood received numerous awards, including the 2010 Mary McLarry Bywaters Award for Lifetime Contribution to Dance from Dance Council North Texas. The Mary Award honored his extraordinary impact on the cultural life and growth of dance audiences in the greater North Texas region. Wood was honored by his high school alma mater, Richland High School, with induction into its inaugural Hall of Fame in April 2013.
Wood was honored posthumously by the Senate of The State of Texas Proclamation No. 962 in June 2014.
Bruce Wood Dance has received outstanding commendations and also was selected to be among the Top Dance Lists of 2012: #2 on The Dallas Morning News list and TheaterJones.com list; #1 on DFW.com; D Magazine’s Best of awards for 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2019.