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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 began her early ballet training in Austin, Texas at Austin Civic Ballet, receiving a Ford Foundation scholarship for study with the San Francisco at the age of 15. Subsequently, she received a Ford Foundation scholarship for study at the School of American Ballet, also  appearing with the New York City Ballet. Holt accepted a soloist contract with Houston Ballet upon completing her BFA in Ballet Performance. While a member of Houston Ballet, she danced a wide variety of solo and principal roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire by choreographers including Stevenson, Van Manen, Van Danzig, Petipa, Balanchine, Taras, Dolin, Boris, Clouser, Franklin, Ivanov, de Mille, and O'Donnell. She also performed principal roles in Terekhov's The Firebird, The Snow Maiden, and Don Quixote. She has performed as a guest artist, teacher, and choreographer with ballet and opera companies across the United States.

Holt joined the dance faculty of the University of Oklahoma School of Dance as an assistant professor, following Miguel Terekhov as chair in 1991, and an appointment as director in 1998. As director of Oklahoma Festival Ballet, Holt has choreographed over forty ballets and operas and led Oklahoma Festival Ballet on tours to France (six), the Internationale Haydntage in Austria (2), Mexico (3), Taiwan, China, and Ecuador.  Her choreography includes the music of Franck, Haydn, The Beatles, Porter, Weill, Mozart, Ginastera, Ikard, Holley, Satie, Bartok, Orff, and Debussy and her ballets have been seen across the U.S. as well as in South America, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Under Holt's leadership, Oklahoma Festival Ballet performed works from the national repertoire by Joffrey and Balanchine as well as de Mille's, Rodeo. Her students have performed with Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Austin, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Orlando Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet, and as finalists and semifinalists in the International Ballet Competition. At the University of Oklahoma, Holt taught every course in the ballet curriculum and her continuing studies in ballet pedagogy include studying Bournonville Technique with Tage Wendt; and Vaganove Technique at the Bolshoi Academy at Vail; and in St. Petersburg and Minsk, Russia.

Holt was an honoree at the second national RDA Festival in Pittsburgh in 2007, and she received the CORPS de Ballet International Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. She has served on the Dance Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and been a panelist on Women in the Academy at Oxford. She is the recipient of the Governor's Arts Award, the Presidential Professorship, and the Regents' Professorship at OU where she also holds the John and Mary Nichols' Chair in Dance.  In 2022, Holt was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.