Renowned dancer and peace activist Thomas Warfield will bring humility and a genuine love for the human race to the Colleges’ celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On Friday, Jan. 22, Warfield will present an interactive lecture on the importance of Dr. King’s anti-war speech at 7 p.m. in the Vandervort Room. HWS Dancers who will work with him before the show, will accompany Warfield on stage and will include the audience in the presentation as they act out gestures of audience members.
“I greatly admire Thomas Warfield as a dancer, an educator and a peace activist and I am pleased that our campus and the Geneva community will have the opportunity to meet him,” said Alejandra Molina, director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs. “I think it’s wonderful that students will have the opportunity to participate in a dance workshop with him before his presentation and then share the stage with him.”
Warfield is currently assistant professor in the Department of Cultural and Creative Studies at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is also the director of the RIT / NTID Dance Company, and chairs the RIT President’s Commission for Pluralism & Inclusion.
The founder and artistic director of non-profit, PeaceArt International, Warfield is a frequent guest speaker at conferences throughout the U.S., discussing issues of peace and justice, social activism, creativity, and spiritual awareness. Both his talent as an artist and his work to raise awareness about orphans around the world with HIV/Aids and ability to raise thousands of dollars toward the prevention of the disease has earned him a number of awards. Among them are: the Individual Artist Award from the Rochester Arts & Cultural Council, Volunteer Award from the United Nations Association, Unsung Heroes Award from the City of Rochester, National Dance Association Award, the 2001 Off Off-Broadway Award for Choreography, Jennifer Patterson Koon Peacemaking Award, among others. His “Global Poem In Praise of Peace” has drawn international recognition in letters from composer Leonard Bernstein and Mother Teresa, as well as hundreds of others.
PeaceArt International utilizes the arts as part of an outreach effort to “build community and foster greater human under- standing and world peace,” according to the organization’s Web site. “PeaceArt is dedicated to the multidimensionality of the creative human experience. Through PeaceArt Projects, individuals and groups are collectively involved in the creative process to nurture self-worth, strengthen relationships and celebrate the diversity of life.”
Warfield has worked with a number of artists on stage, television and film, including film directors Spike Lee and Franco Zefferelli; composers John Adams and Marvin Hamlisch, and singers Placido Domingo and Beverly Sills. Among the directors for whom he has danced are Balachine, Graham, Cunningham, Limon, Paul Taylor, Isadora Duncan, Humphrey, Nijinksky, Bill T Jones/ Arnie Zane, Jane Dudle, and Tandy Beal.
Previously, Warfield performed for more than 14 years with the Opera Theatre of Rochester. He also performed with the Downstairs Cabaret, GeVa Theatre, Rochester Community Players, Opera Under the Stars, Webster Theatre Guild, Blackfriars, Nazareth College, Hochstein School of Music, Eastman Children’s Chorus, Young Audiences and the Mercury Ballet. He holds a number of leadership positions in the community, including as a member of the boards of the Rochester Arts & Cultural Council (founder of the Cultural Diversity Initiative), ARTWalk outdoor museum (president of Board of Trustees), William Warfield Scholarship Fund at the Eastman School of Music, and the Rochester Mayor’s Advisory Council on Arts, and more.
His interactive performance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is open to all members of the HWS and Greater Geneva communities. Everyone is encouraged to attend this unique, inspiring event.