Myra Woodruff


Professor of Dance


Myra Woodruff holds a B.A. in individualized study from New York University.  She trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City, where she completed the accredited Trainee Program and Third Year Extension Certificate with an emphasis on performance.  During her studies she was the recipient of the Helena Rubenstein Scholarship and the Carroll Mason Russell Scholarship.  Woodruff performed in the Martha Graham Ensemble under the direction of Yuriko from 1983 to 1987.  She served as a full-time faculty member of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, one of the foremost professional schools in the world, from 1985 to 1995.  In this capacity she taught all levels of Graham technique, repertory classes, served as a demonstrator and adjudicator for School scholarships, and directed workshops on behalf of the Martha Graham School and Dance Company, which included the Martha Graham Centenary Festival at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the Martha Graham Arts Excellence in the Schools Program in New York City.  She taught master classes both domestically and internationally at sites including the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and the Power Center in Manila, Philippines, sponsored by the United States State Department.  She is a regular guest teacher at the Martha Graham School’s Winter and Summer Intensives.

Woodruff was a member of the Martha Graham Ensemble from 1983 to 1987.  From 1987 to 1995 she danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company.  In her years with the company, she appeared in over 25 ballets from the Graham repertory and participated in the reconstruction of eight works and four new creations under the direction of Martha Graham.  In addition, she appeared in the films The Martha Graham Dance Company at the Paris Opera and Martha Graham in Japan.  She has performed in the ancient theatres of Pompeii, Italy; Ephesus, Turkey; and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, and has toured India, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, Brazil, and Argentina, among other countries.  She was chosen by Twyla Tharp to appear in her work “Demeter and Persephone,” which toured throughout the United States.  Woodruff is an official re-stager of the Martha Graham repertory under the Martha Graham Trust.

Woodruff served as a visiting associate professor of dance at Florida State University from 1995 to 1998. From 1998 to 2004, upon invitation from Founder Maurice Bejart and School Director Michel Gascard, Woodruff was employed by Rudra Bejart Lausanne as the first full-time modern dance teacher in the history of the Bejart School in Lausanne, Switzerland.  She taught all levels of Graham technique and repertory to professional level dancers.  Responsibilities included choreographing and presenting lecture demonstrations, creating original modern works for public performances and tours, collaborating with professors of other areas of study, participating in and teaching auditions for the selection of students for the coming year, setting and rehearsing Bejart ballets, traveling with the students on tour through Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, serving as guest dancer when requested by Bejart, creating choreography for Bejart’s second company, La Compagnie M, for its international tours, and serving as rehearsal director when requested.

Woodruff performed as guest artist with Bejart’s first company, Bejart Ballet Lausanne, from 1999 to 2004.  She traveled extensively with the company and danced several lead roles.  Among them was “Celle qui porte La Lumiere” (She who brings the light) from the ballet Lumiere, underwritten by the Conseil General du Rhone, and premiered at the Theatres Romains de Fourviere in Lyon, France, in June 2001.  Additional tours included the Palais de Congress in Paris, the Roman Arena in Nimes, the Opera House in Genova, Italy, and the Brel Brussels 2003 Celebration Tribute to Jacques Brel at the Forest-National Theatre in Brussels, Belgium.  Bejart engaged Woodruff as a coach for his repertory and, upon his request, she created Vivalcita, a duet for two men presented at an international gala in Germany honoring John Neumeier, director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet.

At SMU, Woodruff teaches all levels of Graham technique to dance majors and re-stages repertory from master choreographer Martha Graham.  She served as chair of the Division of Dance from the fall of 2004 through the spring of 2010.