University of Arizona
University of Arizona


Duane Cyrus

Director, School of Dance

School of Dance

Duane Cyrus is a professor and director of the School of Dance at the University of Arizona. He was previously a professor for seventeen years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where he taught technique, choreography, improvisation, and career sustaining practices. At UNCG, Cyrus helped to develop the Arts Administration program, Co-chaired the first Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference on that campus, served on the Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Advisory Board, and developed the course Career Strategies for Artists

Cyrus is a Bessie Award-nominated performing and creative artist whose work is focused on the confluence of questions and ideas that come from positioning moving bodies in conceptual environments. He is a two-time North Carolina Arts Council Choreography Fellow, and his work is informed by research into Black American and Caribbean history and culture. As a performer, Cyrus has danced in musical theatre, concert dance, and commercial dance. Including, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Carousel (U.S. tour), The Lion King (original West End production) and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Cyrus creates work in multiple genres including concert dance, musical theatre, contemporary art, and drama. His creative work is iterative and devised to engage a range of communities by being accessible, touchable, and relevant. With a kaleidoscopic background in the arts, Cyrus’ choreographic and directed works fluidly negotiate the physical capabilities and possibilities of the human body in movement. 

Professional Concert Choreography: Colony of Desire, A Place for Us to Exist, Backstage at Matty's Palace, Gotham, Hero Complexities, among many others. Choreography for regional and community theatres includes: Ain't Misbehavin', Blue Door, Cabaret, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, West Side Story. Visual Art Curations: Black@Intersection for Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art; Maroon, Maroon at Artspace in Raleigh, NC.

Cyrus is the co-author of the photographic book Vital Grace: The Black male Dancer with Joanne Savio. He was a founding member of Theatre of Movement, LLC, a performing and visual art collective that produced trans-disciplinary collaborations and curations. Recently, Cyrus can be seen in the TedX Arizona talk “Body as Text” available on youtube. And he continues to lead the School of Dance as an administrator, curator, and creative. Recent partnerships and collaborations include the University of Arizona School of Dance Ensemble’s performance of Boléro with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra with costume design by Shane Ballard. Cyrus and Associate Director Tamara Dyke-Compton collaborated on this project that brought the talented Dance Ensemble to the Ronstadt Music Hall.