Isadora Duncan recognition for dance lecturer

Dance Lecturer Cathleen McCarthy will be honored with a 2012 Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Sustained Achievement. The award, which will be presented in March 2012, is the premier recognition for lifetime achievement in the Bay Area dance community.

A photo of Cathleen McCarthy, Isadora Duncan Award winner

Dance Lecturer Cathleen McCarthy.

McCarthy will be recognized for her work as a Bay Area choreographer and founder and former director of the West Wave Dance Festival, formerly the Summerfest/Dance festival. The festival has presented the early and later work of such distinguished choreographers as Robert Moses, Brenda Way and Janice Garrett.

McCarthy said she founded the festival to give choreographers at all stages of their careers the opportunity to have their work professionally presented. "A huge part of the process for dancers and choreographers is taking chances," said McCarthy.

"It’s all about experimentation."

For many years, McCarthy’s work on the festival was purely volunteer. Later, she obtained grants for the festival and created benefit performances, which attracted such internationally known choreographers and performers as Michael Smuin.

The recipient of many grants for her own choreographic work, McCarthy often casts graduates of the SF State dance program. In addition to West Wave, McCarthy has choreographed productions for the Oakland Ballet. She earned a BFA in dance at the State University of New York at Purchase.

The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, known locally as the Izzies, are awarded annually to acknowledge exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance. SF State faculty who were previously recognized with an Izzie for sustained achievement include Albirda Rose and Nontsizi Cayou.

-- Denize Springer