Bruce Wood, founder of the Dallas-based Bruce Wood Dance Project, has died at the age of 53. Wood passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, May 28. He died of heart failure after developing complications from a bout with pneumonia.
Wood's passing comes just two weeks before the Bruce Wood Dance Project starts its fourth season with Touch at Dallas City Performance Hall. The performances, taking place on June 12 and 13, will go on as scheduled.
During his 16-year career as a choreographer, Wood created nearly 80 works for both the Bruce Wood Dance Company, which ended in 2007, and the Bruce Wood Dance Project. He had works commissioned by local institutions like Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas Ballet Theater, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, and Southern Methodist University.
The Fort Worth native studied at the School of American Ballet under George Balanchine and went on to perform with New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Les Ballet Jazz des Montreal and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.
Another major project Wood had on his docket at the time of his death was a collaboration with Dallas Theater Center for its upcoming Colossal during the 2014-2015 season. In a statement, Kevin Moriarty, artistic director for DTC, lamented the loss of Wood:
All of us at Dallas Theater Center are heartbroken by the news of Bruce Wood’s passing. Bruce was one of North Texas’ leading creative artists. The depth of emotion he brought to his choreographic work was matched by his immense technical skill and compositional brilliance. He was a great source of inspiration for audiences and artists alike and he elevated the artistic life of our community.
DTC audiences were greatly looking forward to Bruce’s debut at Dallas Theater Center next season, when he was scheduled to choreograph Colossal. Personally, I am devastated by this loss to our community and filled with deep sorrow that I will not be able to enter into a rehearsal room with Bruce to learn from him and be inspired by his intensity, passion, artistry and vision. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bruce’s family and many friends in this time of mourning.
Wood is survived by his mother and two siblings. His family requests that anyone wishing to honor his memory donate money to the Bruce Wood Dance Project in lieu of flowers.