Duane Cyrus

  • Professor
  • Choreography, Improvisation, Career Management, Dance Administration
  • 323 Coleman Building
  • dacyrus@uncg.edu

Duane Cyrus (New York, NY) is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the director of Theatre of Movement LLC, an arts collaborative that explores Black American and Afro-Caribbean identities. Duane Cyrus is a producer, choreographer, educator, and performing artist.

Cyrus has performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, The Lion King (original London cast), Carousel (U.S. Tour) as well as domestic and international touring with Cyrus Art Production and Theatre of Movement. Duane Cyrus is the co-author and editor of the book “Vital Grace––The Black Male Dancer”, a photographic celebration of black men in dance. A graduate of the Juilliard School (BFA) and the University of Illinois (MFA),  Cyrus is a 2018 Bessie Award Nominee for his performance in Cynthia Oliver’s “Virago Man Dem” that premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is a two-time Choreography fellowship recipient from the North Carolina Arts Council. Recognized in his early career with the Princess Grace Foundation Award for emerging artists and later as an educator, with the Coleman Entrepreneurship Fellow,  Duane Cyrus continues to expand his knowledge base through research, presentations and teaching extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Duane Cyrus was the artistic director of Cyrus Art Production from 2006-2014 and currently directs Theatre of Movement where he engages communities through events and creative work informed by research into the African Diaspora. He has served as faculty or instructor for the Joffrey/New School BFA Program, The Hartt School Actor’s Training Program, Summer intensives with; American Dance Festival, American Ballet Theatre, Aileycamp, and Charlotte Ballet, and was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Duane Cyrus was awarded the 2009 University Dance Educator of the Year by the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Bicentennial Commission, and Bricolage Arts Festival among others. Mr. Cyrus was also the first place winner for the Anne Fulton Carter Business Plan Competition. With his award-winning plan he opened the Access to Art Academy that provided professional-level training for performing artists in the Greensboro Triad Region for one year.

Duane Cyrus continues to produce performances, outreach programs, and collaborative projects around the country. His recent projects include:

“The Resistance Project”––A multidisciplinary community-engaged workshop with performances and public events. This project addresses themes of resistance (to oppression) and activism led/inspired by women of the African diaspora. This project was supported by the UNCG Faculty Grant and The College of Visual and Performing Arts “She Can/We Can” grant.

“Evening with the Creative Class”––a series of informal presentations and discussions on the arts with a panel of curated guest artists and scholars sharing their talent in an enriching evening of community, networking, and discussion. The event takes place semi-annually in the UNCG School of Dance and at other locations.  This event provides an opportunity to experience and learn more about how artists and scholars make their work. (http://www.theatreofmovement.org/an-evening-with-the-creative-class)

Partnership with NC Arts in Action for their L.E.A.P. (Learning Excellence and Perseverance) program. Cyrus has collaborated multiple times with NC Arts in Action executive director Marlon Torres to build arts education curricula for youth 9-15 years old in the Raleigh, NC area. (https://www.ncartsinaction.org/l-e-a-p-program)

“Colony of Desire”––a work commissioned in 2020 by the Charlotte Ballet for their Innovative Works “Immersed in Light” program. This work included collaborations with composers Angus Tarnawsky and Jonboyondabeat; with costume design by renowned designer, Shane Ballard. Check out a promotional video! (https://www.instagram.com/p/B5RHxYhgwnf/?igshid=uf9izjraw35z)

“Hero Complexities”, a multidisciplinary work that is inspired by the heroic acts of Charles W. David Jr., a Caribbean American United States Coast Guardsman who lost his life helping to save nearly 100 drowning servicemen in the icy waters off Greenland during World War II. It investigates the possible confluence of questions surrounding themes of rescue, self-sacrifice, and heroism when black male bodies are positioned in contemporary spaces.  What does it mean to be a problem and a savior at the same time? And how do black contemporary bodies simultaneously relate to past acts of heroism while negotiating present-day dilemmas through art? “Hero Complexities” and the efforts of Charles W. David Jr. have been recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Foundation for Coast Guard History. This work was also supported by the UNCG Provost’s Strategic Seed Grant for Vibrant Communities. (http://www.theatreofmovement.org/hero-complexities)