Joan Woodbury is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and studied as the first Fulbright Scholar in dance with Mary Wigman in Berlin. She was a professor of modern dance at the University of Utah where she taught for 47 years. When Joan was 21, she met Alwin Nikolais who had a profound influence on her philosophy and aesthetics for the rest of her career. She was privileged to teach with, as well as for him in New York, Florida, and Minnesota—and abroad in Avignon, Angers and Paris, France as well as in Sussex, England. Joan has choreographed over 100 works in her career and has danced and/or taught workshops and master classes throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Portugal, South Africa, Slovenia, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, France, England, Ireland, and Italy.
In addition to many choreographic grants, her awards include a Chimera Award from the Nikolais Dance Theatre, a Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce Honors in the Arts Award, Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Wisconsin and Southern Utah University and an Honorary Alumni Award from the University of Utah. She has also received the Utah Governor’s Award in the Arts, the Heritage Award from the National Dance Association, and the Cathedral of the Madeleine Award. Joan has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Southern Utah University and an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Utah. At present Joan’s great passion is in assisting and supporting the company as it continues into the future.