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Oakland University Announces That Joanne Danto Is A Recipient Of An Honorary Doctor Of Arts


Oakland University, one of Michigan's leading educational institutions, has announced that JOANNE DANTO is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Arts for her contributions to the dance community as an internationally celebrated ballet dancer and educator, and her commitment to philanthropy in raising funds to support non-profit organizations in Michigan, and other parts of the United States.

Since retiring from the stage, Ms. Danto has been engaged as a teacher, and balletmistress and as Vice President, Secretary and Trustee of the Marvin and Betty Danto Family Foundation she has changed lives in funding research into scleroderma and cardiovascular disease, and the academic study of engineering, and the performing and visual arts.

After extensive ballet studies in the United States, Ms. Danto joined the Frankfurt Ballet in 1966, performing as a soloist under the direction of Todd Bolender. In 1970, at Frederick Franklin's invitation, she joined the National Ballet of Washington in Washington, D.C. as a soloist. She shared the stage with Dame Margot Fonteyn in more than fifty performances during that period and frequently appeared at the Kennedy Center.

In 1972 Ms. Danto accepted an offer to join the Pennsylvania Ballet and was promoted to the rank of principal dancer before the end of her first season. As a member of the company, she danced many of the great Balanchine roles, the classics, and created major roles in several world premieres. David Vaughan noted that Ms. Danto's Balanchine roles were "superbly authoritative" and that she was "one of the best Balanchine dancers anywhere -- which is to say, one of the best dancers".

As a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet she appeared with the company in the PBS television series "Dance in America" and has also been seen on the CBS program "Camera Three".

Ms. Danto has also been a guest artist with the Louisville Civic Ballet, Indiana University Ballet, Maryland Ballet, Detroit City Ballet, and Chicago Ballet.

Since retiring from the stage Ms. Danto has devoted her immense talent to teaching. She served as a Master Teacher and performing artist on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Academy in 1980. In the summer of 1981 she accepted a position on the faculty of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and has also served as Master Artist on the faculties of Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Marygrove College in Detroit, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. For the 1982-83 school year she served as guest faculty and artist in residence at Indiana University's ballet department.

Ms. Danto has been on the faculty of the Institute of Music and Dance in Detroit as well as a guest teacher for the Harbinger Dance Company, Michigan Classic Ballet and Twin City Ballet. Ms. Danto also spent one season as balletmistress for the Verona Opera Ballet in Verona, Italy where she taught daily classes and supervised rehearsals for ballets by Kurt Joos, Giuseppe Carbone and Birgit Cullberg.

During the 1993-94 season Ms. Danto was balletmistress of the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.

Ms. Danto has successfully combined the pursuit of a successful career as a freelance master teacher as well being a member of the advisory boards of many arts institutions in Detroit, Michigan.

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