William Kelly Holt, CWRU Professor Emeritus Passes Away

picture of William Kelly Holt

It is with great sadness that the Department of Dance shares the news of the passing of William Kelly Holt, CWRU Professor Emeritus, who passed away in Cleveland, Ohio, August 2022.

Kelly was hired to co-direct what was originally called the Graduate Dance Training Program along with Kathyrn Karipides in the mid-70's.  He designed the degree programs for both the MFA in Dance and the MFA in Theater and taught at CWRU until his retirement in 2000 as well as for several years following his designation as emeriti faculty.

Prior to coming to Case, he served in the military, studied theater and danced professionally in New York with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company.  He also taught at NYU where his approach to movement may well have influenced the renowned voice and movement specialist Kristen Linklater, thus influencing artists well beyond the dance world.  Holt also partnered for many years with Ruth Solomon, teaching for summer dance programs at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

In addition to being heralded for his teaching of dance technique and choreography, Holt was a distinguished choreographer noted for the duets he choreographed for himself and Karipides such as "Thunderpumper", "Ostinato Pianissimo" and "Orison of the Luminous She". Other noted works include "Protokinesis" and "Shingopovi" both of which included sets designed by the late Henry Kurth.  His last works created in 1998 and 2000 respectively were “Sensamaya” and “Stickinthemud”.

Many graduate students who studied with Holt went on to have distinguished professional careers performing in New York with renowned companies and many others have academic appointments at different universities throughout the United States.

The Department of Dance at CWRU will be dedicating its November concert, Spectrum to Kelly in a tribute that will include video excerpts and photographs of some of his dances as well as sentiments from many alumni who gained immeasurably under his tutelage. Rest in Peace Kelly.