Artistic and Administrative Director
D. Patton White has been working as a performing artist and choreographer since 1985. Originally from Colorado, Mr. White relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1979 to attend Emory University. Graduating in 1983 with a double degree (in Psychology and Philosophy), he continued his dance training, begun during college, in dance and choreography. He has had extensive training since 1981 in almost every form of dance, including aerial, African, ballet, ballroom, contact improvisation, flamenco, jazz, modern (and post-modern) and tap. Teachers have included Robert Davidson, Cleo Parker Robinson, Richard Englund, Finis Jung, Robert Joffrey, Nina Martin, Keith Hennesey, Bill Young, Gus Giordano, Douglas Nielson, David Dorfman and Nia Love.
Mr. White has honed his choreographic skills through numerous concentrated workshops since 1984, led by such dance luminaries as Phyllis Lamhut, Terry Creach and Stephen Koester, David Dorfman, Dan Froot, Celeste Miller, Daniel Shapiro and Joan Smith, Rod Rodgers, Martha Clarke, Bebe Miller and Homer Avila and Edisa Weeks. Mr. White has performed with a variety of professional dance companies based in Atlanta, including Beacon Dance, Dance South, Lee Harper & Dancers, the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre, and Several Dancers Core, since 1982. He has appeared as a guest artist with numerous other dance companies including Agnes Scott College Studio Dance Theater, Emory University Dance Company, State of Franklin Dance Alliance and the Georgia Ballet.
Mr. White has been creating movement-based works since 1980. His passion for creating dances even pre-dates his initial training in dance technique. Since that time, he has choreographed over 40 pieces ranging in length from approximately two minutes to evening-length works of more than an hour and one-half. He has worked in a variety of settings, including community-based civic projects for both the young and the elderly, regional pre-professional youth ensembles and professional dance and theater
His current focus is creating multi-disciplinary works, seeking to bring many arts media into a unified whole, with movement providing the anchoring element. He is especially interested in investigating how live dance and video technology can be brought together, and in creating dance pieces for video installation performance.
Mr. White has held the position of artistic director of Beacon Dance since 1990. Under his tenure, Beacon has evolved from a semi-professional civic ballet-focused dance company into a professional, multi-faceted dance organization presenting a variety of programs to the community. His leadership has brought Beacon into local prominence as a cutting-edge organization intent on re-defining the very concept of dance and performance and its place within the community.
Beacon and Mr. White have received numerous commissions since 1993 from many of the leading arts organizations in the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Commissioning agencies have included the Arts Festival of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art Members Guild, Dancers Collective, Nexus Contemporary Art Center, City Gallery East and the Georgia Allies. Since 1986, Mr. White has been a dance educator. He has taught at the Decatur School of Ballet, the Whitworth Center for the Performing Arts, The Dance Factory and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center among others. He served as assistant director of the dance department at Agnes Scott College from 1999-2003, and is currently on the faculty of Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He conducts workshops around the country in dance technique and composition, with an emphasis on improvisation, contact improvisation and partnering. In 2003 he served as an artist-in-residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he taught classes in modern, and created a new dance piece with many of the dance-majors.
Beginning in 1979 with the DAR Good Citizen of the Year Award, Mr. White has received numerous honors and awards over the years. He was awarded an academic scholarship in 1980 to Emory University, received artist grants from Arts in The Atlanta Project in 1993 and 1994, received an individual artist grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts in 1995, and an artist grant from the Arts Festival of Atlanta in 1996. He is a member of numerous professional associations including Alpha Psi Omega (a national thespian honor society), Alternate ROOTS, the Atlanta Coalition of Theatres, the Atlanta Dance Initiative, the Georgia Citizens for the Arts and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau Cultural Tourism Initiative. He has served on a number of peer review panels, including the Georgia Council for the Arts, the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, South Carolina Arts Council and the Community/Artist Partnership Program, and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Beacon Dance and is the Secretary of the Executive Committee of Alternate ROOTS.