CEDAR CITY — Kay Andersen, professor of dance at Southern Utah University, is saying goodbye to the faculty, staff and students after 22 years at the institution.
As his last big event, Andersen is choreographing the classic tap dance musical “42nd Street” for the SUU department of theatre arts and dance. According to a press release from the university, “42nd Street” is the perfect production to end Andersen’s teaching career, given his extensive knowledge of tap.
Set to retire after commencement, Andersen is known for his ability to incorporate tap dancing into everything. The story goes that a young Andersen was found tap dancing on top of a cow at the family farm in Cache Valley, Utah.
“When it came time to transition from professional dancing to teaching I knew there was not a better place suited for me than here at SUU, my alma mater,” Andersen said in the release.
“The opportunities for collaboration, especially with my dear friend and colleague Shauna Mendini, have been beyond anything I thought possible. I have loved seeing students come and go, feeling fortunate to be a tiny part of their creative paths. I have so enjoyed my relationships with them, even now as friends and alumni. This has been the greatest gift.”
Mendini, dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, said hiring Andersen was the best decision she’s made during her time at SUU.
“Over 20 years ago, professor Kay Andersen was interviewed for a position at SUU from where he stood in a phone booth on the streets of New York City,” Mendini said. “He is respected, appreciated and loved by students, faculty and staff. Kay will be deeply missed.”
Rhett Guter, former student turned professional actor, director and choreographer, said what he remembers most about Andersen was his jumping into a piece Guter had choreographed.
“I was amazed that, despite being his student, he instantly endowed me with the role of choreographer, throwing himself into the dance with no pretense,” Guter said. “It was an invaluable lesson in collaboration.”
Andersen will be remembered for his smile and the spirit and light he brought to SUU, the press release states.
“The College of Performing and Visual Arts is grateful for his hard work, dedication, and service to Southern Utah University. We love you, Kay!” the release states
See Andersen’s choreography in SUU’s production of “42nd Street” happening April 12, 13, 15, 19 at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on April 13 and April 20.
Additional information regarding the location of the performance and ticket cost can be found here.