MSP 170: Kathy Dunn Hamrick

By March 12, 2024Podcast

PODCAST 170: Kathy Dunn Hamrick

Release Date: 3.11.24


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Creating a Modern Dance Culture and Community with Kathy Dunn Hamrick

Episode 170: Show Notes.

Establishing a modern dance company is no easy feat, but today’s guest managed to create a successful organization and build a wonderful modern dance community in Austin, Texas. Today on Movers & Shapers, we welcome Kathy Dunn Hamrick, the Artistic Director of Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance, to discuss her work and how she helps dance grow in Austin. Kathy found a love for dance at a young age and quickly decided that she needed to dedicate her life to it. In this episode, you’ll hear all about Kathy’s life and career, her decision to teach, and how her desire to be ‘in charge’ led her to start her company. We discuss the difficulty of balancing a family and career, her gorgeous piece choreographed on platforms on a lake, and starting the Austin Dance Festival. We delve into Kathy’s recent cancer diagnosis and how her community has showed up for her, and Kathy opens up about next steps of sharing her knowledge with the next generation of dancers and choreographers. Finally, we walk through Kathy’s career highlights and struggles. To hear all this and more, press play now!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • We delve into the who behind Kathy Dunn Hamrick and learn about how she got into dance.
  • The wonderful mentors Kathy has had and how they shaped her career.
  • What Kathy loves about dance and how she constantly stays interested in it.
  • Kathy tells us about her move to New York and why she decided to get her MFA.
  • Transitioning into the role of dance teacher and founding namesake company; Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance.
  • How Kathy balances her family and business while keeping her career interesting for herself.
  • The incredible dance piece that was choreographed by Kathy and performed on a lake.
  • Kathy outlines all of the things her dance company does.
  • The modern dance culture in Austin and why Kathy started her dance festival.
  • How COVID affected Kathy’s business and festival.
  • Kathy’s diagnosis with stage four cancer and what’s next for her and the organization.
  • Why finances have always been Kathy’s biggest business struggle.
  • The highlights of Kathy’s career and the wonderful dance community she’s built.

“From a very young age I knew I wanted a family and I knew I wanted to dance and I’ve achieved both of those [things] so I’m living my best life honestly.” — Kathy Dunn Hamrick

Kathy Dunn Hamrick is the Artistic Director of Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company, an award-winning modern dance company based in Austin, Texas. Kathy has happily committedher professional life to dancing, teaching, choreographing, presenting, mentoring, andadvocating for modern dance and dancemakers. She has created over 50 dances that have been described as “strikingly athletic and wonderfully expressive,” “heavenly,” “smart” and “masterly,” and garnered numerous recognitions for the dance company, including Austin CriticsTable awards for Best Choreographer, Best Dance Concert, Best Dancer, Best Duet, Best Lighting Design, and Best Ensemble. The company has performed throughout Texas as well asin New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto, and her “Lake Dances” were featuredin Arts + Culture Texas, Arts Journal, and Dance Magazine. Kathy holds a BA in Modern Dancefrom The University of Texas and an MFA in Performance, and Choreography from Florida State University. She has taught at Florida State, Stephen F. Austin State University, St.Edwards University, The University of Texas, and Austin Community College. She currentlyteaches modern dance for both recreational and professional dancers at Café Dance; providesprofessional development for educators; directs artist residencies for high schools anduniversities; and served as a mentor for Austin Emerging Arts Leaders. In 2015, Kathy founded Austin Dance Festival, an annual modern dance event that hosts professional danceshowcases, master classes, and a Youth Edition that includes non-competitive showcases forteens 13-18, a Pro Chat Q&A, and a college fair. In 2018, Kathy was inducted into the AustinArts Hall of Fame as “a model for the artist who approaches each project in a spirit of experimentation and reinvention.”


Connect with Kathy Dunn Hamrick

Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance

Austin Dance Festival


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton