December 16, 2016 (Jackson, Miss.) - The Belhaven Dance Department awarded its first merit-based scholarship for M.F.A. dance students to Lauren Ashlee Small, a third-year graduate student from Springfield, Illinois. The endowment was created by the Henderson and Wright families in loving memory of John D. Henderson, Sr. (1944-2016), an accomplished singer and enthusiastic supporter of the arts.
My family and I are honored to have the opportunity to establish an endowed scholarship in memory of my father, said Associate Professor of Dance and M.F.A. Program Director Dr. Emily Wright. This award connects his legacy to the vital contributions Belhaven's M.F.A. in Dance program is making to the field of dance through the cultivation of kingdom artists and scholars.
Every year, the dance faculty will select one M.F.A. student to bestow the John D. Henderson, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Award. Dance faculty base their selection on students who exhibit excellence in creative and/or scholarly endeavors, a commitment to Christ-centered leadership and potential for future impact in the field of dance.
As a graduate student, Small has worked to perfect the craft of dance and has a proven record in each characteristic. She has presented her research on dance and social change at Jackson State University's Creative Arts Festival and Conference on the Liberal Arts. She has performed the work of notable choreographers, Steve Rooks (Martha Graham Dance Company) and Caleb Mitchell (Houston Ballet) at venues including the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Lauren's choreography was selected for the Performance Category Prize at the Mississippi Museum of Art's Harlem Renaissance-inspired Collegiate Invitational and has also been nominated for adjudication at the American College Dance Association South Regional Conference this spring.