Since 1997, Kay Andersen has played a pivotal role at Southern Utah University. WIth professional training and a dedication to his art, Andersen has been able to positively impact students and have fun dancing as the chair of the department of theatre arts and dance.
Andersen was first a performer for the American Folk Ballet in Logan, Utah. He was a part of the Festival of the American West, which was written by former President Gerald R. Sherratt. When the ballet picked up and headed west to Los Angeles, he followed. It was in L.A. that Andersen experienced life outside of Utah as a professional dancer.
“Being in L.A., I also did a lot of auditions for the commercial world,” said Andersen. “That experience took me to Mexico City where I got a job working for the national television company doing commercials and weekly television series.”
After Mexico, Andersen was asked by Burch Mann, the founder of SUU’s dance program, to come to Cedar City to teach and earn his degree. Andersen graduated from Southern Utah University with his bachelor of arts degree in Spanish. From there, he continued his education at New York University in the School of Education and Arts Profession, where he earned his master of arts degree in dance education / performance and choreography.
While in New York, Andersen was able to gain professional experience with companies such as Nikolais & Murray Louis Dance Co. where he was a soloist for eleven years. With the company he performed worldwide, participated in the creation of important roles, taught at the studio in NYC, and presented workshops throughout the world.
The next step was coming back to SUU and continuing to teach. As of now, Andersen teaches the following classes:
- DANC 1520- Folk/Cultural Dance
- DANC 2080- Improvisation
- DANC 2120- Tap Dance II
- DANC 2160- Modern Dance III
- DANC 3010- Rhythmic Form & Analysis
- DANC 3120- Tap Dance III
- DANC 3180- Modern Dance VI
- DANC 3510- Dance Composition I
- DANC 4300- Dance Ensemble
Over the years, Andersen has received different honors and awards. In 2001 he was given the Professor of the Year Award and in 2014 was identified as a Distinguished Educator at SUU. Most recently, in 2016, Andersen received the Utah Dance Education Organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Though he has received a lot of recognition, Andersen notes that it is not the awards or honors that motivate him.“I love what I’m doing and if any kind of recognition comes of it, I feel very honored,” said Andersen. “I think it’s all about doing what you love to do and being passionate, working hard, and what comes after that doesn’t matter.”