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Dean Mary Margaret Holt

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Mary Margaret Holt, Dean

Mary Margaret Holt, Dean of Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts

Mary Margaret Holt, an award-winning educator whose leadership has gained recognition for OU’s School of Dance as one of the top three dance programs in the country, is dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma.  

Holt earned a bachelor of fine arts in dance and master of fine arts degree in drama with dance emphasis at OU, and studied under prima ballerina Yvonne Chouteau and principal dancer Miguel Terekhov, who together established the dance program at OU. Chouteau and Terekhov were instrumental in bringing Holt back to OU to join the dance faculty in 1982.

She was appointed chair of the Department of Dance in 1990, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts in 1991 and interim dean of the College of Fine Arts in 1997. Holt was appointed a Presidential Professor in 1997; a Regents’ Professor in 1998 and in 2002 was appointed John W. and Mary D. Nichols Chair of Dance serving as director of the School of Dance. Under her leadership, the Department of Dance was elevated to the School of Dance in 1998. She has also served as acting director of the Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama. As director of the School of Dance, Holt initiated the Saturday Youth Program, SummerWind Youth Ballet, Once Upon A Dream, performances in the public schools, the Call Board newsletter, the Dance Partners support group, and on-campus audition days, as well as planning for the dance wing of the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center, which opened in 2005.

Holt has taught every course in the ballet curriculum at OU and has led Oklahoma Festival Ballet on numerous international tours to China, France, Ecuador, Mexico, Taiwan and Austria. The most recent tour was to the Internationale Haydntage in Eisenstadt, Austria, for which she co-created original choreography for Haydn’s The Seasons.

Holt’s professional training began with a Ford Foundation grant leading to an apprenticeship with the San Francisco Ballet at the age of 15. Two years later, she was awarded an additional Ford Foundation grant to study at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, where she performed with the New York City Ballet for two years. In 1972, she joined the Houston Ballet as a soloist and danced a wide variety of solo and principal roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire.

The recipient of many awards, including the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award, she has choreographed over 40 ballets. Her choreography is in the repertoire of over a dozen companies in the United States, and it has also been seen in Great Britain, Europe and South America. She has also served as a guest artist, choreographer, consultant and teacher with more than 30 ballet and opera companies across the United States.