Elizabeth Lentz holds a B.A. in Religion with a Concentration in Women's Studies from Carleton College, and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Washington. She comes to Hattiesburg after performing, teaching, choreographing and promoting dance across the nation for the past fifteen years. Lentz’s creative and scholarly research interests lie in the intersection of dance, theatre and education—asking, how do dancers and actors use bodies to convey meaning, and how do we best prepare the next generation of these movement artists to do so?
Lentz’s performance credits include tours of original dance theatre works across Brazil, Mexico, France, and the U.S. with Tennessee Dance Theatre, Chicago Moving Company, Lucky Plush Productions, Breakbone DanceCo., Sheldon B. Smith, Cindy Brandle, and other independent choreographers. As a member of the Chamber Dance Company at UW, she performed works by Bill T. Jones, Doug Elkins, Twyla Tharp, and Charles Weidman. In her own choreography, Lentz loves collaborating and has worked with sketch comedians, actors, professional dancers, students of all ages, and choirs.
Before coming to USM, Lentz was adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago for six years, teaching in both the Theatre and Dance Departments. Other teaching credits include: University of Washington, Trollwood Performing Arts School (Fargo), Loyola Academy (Chicago), University School of Nashville, and numerous public K-12 schools in Tennessee and Illinois, teaching dance and arts-integrated curricula to fully-abled and special needs populations in both urban and rural school systems.
The bulk of Lentz’s performance career centered in Chicago, where she also established herself as an avid promoter of dance. In 2001 she co-founded and continues to co-curate/produce the Other Dance Festival, Chicago’s premier modern dance fest. The Chicago Tribune called the Fest “bold, gutsy… modern dance at its finest.” Working with a dancer-turned-graphic designer, Lentz created, marketed, and sold the first Chicago Dance Calendar, a twelve-month wall calendar featuring photos of Chicago dance companies with their performance listings. Lentz was also the first Managing Director of Breakbone DanceCo and a Board Member of the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance.
Lentz is thrilled to join the USM faculty, teaching ballet, modern, dance education classes, and Experiential Anatomy for Dancers. She is also the Faculty Advisor for the Episcopal Church at USM.