October 10, 2021

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community, 

It is with deep sadness that we write with news of the death of Cadence Joy Whittier, professor of dance, celebrated artist, advocate for inclusion in the arts, and author. 

For more than two decades at Hobart and William Smith, Cadence touched the lives of thousands of students, colleagues and friends through her commitment to advancing new pedagogies, her powerful artistry on the stage, and her activism in the greater Finger Lakes community. An exceptionally gifted teacher, she guided generations of students to consider the ways in which dance and movement can bring communities together by inspiring dialogue and creating opportunities for collaboration. 

Her colleagues on the faculty recognized her work first in 2016 when she was honored with the Faculty Prize for Teaching and again in 2019 when she was awarded the Civically Engaged Faculty Member of the Year. Also in 2019, she was named the recipient of the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowed Professorship. 

An expert on ballet with an emphasis on Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis (L/BMA), Cadence was a gifted contemporary choreographer and dancer, participating in dozens of performances and as a member of numerous ensembles and dance companies. She frequently presented and authored articles about the integration of L/BMA theories and classical ballet pedagogy in national and international conferences/journals, and is the author of Creative Ballet Teaching: Technique and Artistry for the 21st Century Ballet Dancer (Routledge 2018). She performed frequently in the Faculty Dance Concerts and taught a variety of courses focused on ballet and contemporary dance technique, L/BMA, kinesiology and community arts. She advised Honors work and MAT theses; chaired the Dance Department; directed the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men; co-coordinated the Arts and Education Program; and was among the youngest people to be granted tenure at the Colleges. Cadence served as a member of the steering committee of the Arts Experience: A Festival Celebrating Inclusion and the Art, and regularly partnered with Hillside Family of Agencies, Ontario ARC and the Geneva City School District. She also served as director and core faculty for Integrated Movement Studies, an organization based in California and Utah that offers international training in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, and that recently created a scholarship in her name. She was artistic director and choreographer of the annual Finger Lakes Dance! from 2008-2011. Formerly a competitive diver, she was a member of the William Smith swimming and diving coaching staff. Cadence received her MFA and BFA in ballet from the University of Utah, and her CLMA from Integrated Movement Studies. 

Our thoughts are with her family including her husband Dustin Cutler during this difficult time. There will be a memorial service in the future and details will be shared when they are available. The family has requested memorial contributions be directed to Metastatic Breast Cancer Research, Support and Awareness. The Counseling Center remains available for students and can be reached 24 hours a day at (315) 781-3388. Students are also encouraged to contact the Offices of the Deans and Office for Spiritual Engagement for support and guidance. Faculty and staff have access at any time to the Employee Assistance Program, which offers immediate connections to mental health professionals who can help navigate grief.  

As we mourn her loss, we encourage everyone to remember the powerful lessons that Cadence taught us about perseverance and the power of community.  


Joyce P. Jacobsen

Sarah Kirk
Provost and Dean of Faculty