Carol Soleau is as much a part of the Women’s Building as its ornate, artistic fixtures that harken an era of inspired design.
Carol began teaching dance at OSU in 1977 and developed the university’s and community’s first modern dance group two years later. She also founded and has choreographed every show for her annual concert, now in its 33rd year. This year’s “Oregon Dance” concert is set for April 20 and 21 at Corvallis High School Theater and features a special 1984 duet choreographed by her brother, dancer William Soleau by students Avery Grant and Sean Carrigg. You can get a sneak-peek at the performance by watching a video of one of their rehearsals at the bottom of this page.
Although dance long has been part of her life, she has spent an even greater amount of time as part of a college community. Carol, whose father was a prominent Episcopal minister and professor, grew up in seminary in Virginia and completed undergraduate and graduate work – and began dancing – at Stanford University before working as a dancer in New York, where she performed in small venues, as well as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and choreographed liturgical dances for church services.
Since then, she has choreographed more than 250 dances, including outdoor/multimedia productions for local events such as Da Vinci Days, where she entertained the public by swinging in the trees with ropes and harnesses.
Carol says she strives to make her work thought-provoking, entertaining and audience-friendly. “My dances have to be conceptually driven,” she says.
At OSU, it’s about sharing her love of dance with generations of students. During the years, she has seen trends come and go, and as a result her instruction in modern, jazz and ballet has likewise evolved. One constant, however, is why she continues to teach – the students themselves. “I learn so much from them,” she says. “They keep me young with their unbridled enthusiasm. I love working with the students, and I am so fortunate to love my job.”
Performance and ticket information is available at Oregon Dance