Director, School of Dance

Professor, Dance

Ina Gittings Bldg, Room 121

Two degrees and a 25 year career as a professional dancer was the catalyst for the next 34 years as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Arizona

Following training with Harkness Ballet and American Ballet Theatre and a B.S. in Ballet from Indiana University, Mr. Hancock was offered contracts with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Houston Ballet. He was then invited to join Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet as a Principal Dancer. He has performed a wide range of styles, from classics to moderns, and has been cast as a principal in Swan Lake, Cinderella and other classics, in numerous Balanchine repertoire such as Serenade, Concerto Barocco and Four Temperaments, and in the title role and world premiere of James Clouser’s Caliban, this country’s first full length rock ballet. In addition to his stage performances, Mr. Hancock is featured in five documentary specials made for PBS.

Following work with these three companies, Hancock earned a M.S. degree in ballet at Indiana University and in 1983 accepted a faculty appointment there. In 1987 he was invited to join, as an associate professor, the dance faculty at the University of Arizona.

Now a professor at UA, Mr. Hancock serves as Director of the School of Dance, where he was instrumental in moving the program from its early status as a Committee on Dance with 30 BFA students to its current status as a free-standing School with 160 BFA students and 10 MFA candidates. One of only a few Schools of Dance in the nation, the UA dance program is highly selective, accepting each year only 50 applicants out of 500 who audition to enter. In 1995 the dance program won a $75,000 prize when selected as the top department for undergraduate education at the University of Arizona.

In October of 2003, as a result of sizable fundraising, the doors officially opened to the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, a $9 million center designed for dance. This largely gift-funded complex has earned three AIA awards, was selected as the best public project over $5M, and in 2007 was listed as one of Arizona’s “Greatest Architectural Wonders.”

As Director, Mr. Hancock oversees the design of each performing season. In addition to 35 to 40 performances staged locally (in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre) the Ensemble also receives international invitations, which have included those to Mexico, Ecuador, Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Japan and China. Performances in these countries, as well as important national venues such as the Kennedy Center in D.C. and the Joyce Theatre in NYC, are balanced with local presentations to benefit various charitable organizations in Tucson. These number some two dozen, and constitute a powerful service component in the curricular design of the program.

In addition to serving on the President’s Cabinet and as Chair of the University Faculty from 2001 to 2005, Mr. Hancock has been responsible for producing two College wide galas and three University wide events to initiate and close-out a $1.2B capital campaign for the University and its Foundation. In 2005 the UA Alumni Association selected Mr. Hancock for an Honorary Alumnus Award for “exceptional loyalty and service to the University of Arizona.” Subsequent assignments in 2006 as director of the inaugural events for President Robert Shelton and an appointment as Faculty Athletics Representative were followed in 2008 by his role as director of FIVE!, the five-year anniversary celebration of the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre.  The artistic designs of additional presidential inaugurations followed: those for President Hart and President Robbins.

Also, Mr. Hancock was recognized in 2008 with the Stevie Eller Endowed Chair for the Director of Dance, and has served as Dean for the College of Fine Arts from 2010 to 2017.   Other honors include, in 2011, artistic direction for the “Together We Thrive” event in Tucson, with President Obama; as honoree for a Medallion of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters; from 2013 to 2018 as Vice-President and President of NASD (the national accrediting  body for dance); and recognition from the UA for his work towards diversity and inclusion on campus.

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