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The highest honor

Marshall native receives McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers

June 18, 2011
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

Amy Behm-Thomson is always looking for a way to keep on dancing.

Now she has a fellowship that will ensure that passion.

Behm-Thomson, a 1993 Marshall High School graduate, recently was awarded a 2011 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers. Each fellow will receive a $25,000 fellowship award.

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Amy Behm-Thomson, formerly of Marshall, received a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers.

According to a news release from McKnight, the program is "designed to enrich and strengthen the community of dance artists by acknowledging the accomplishments of individual choreographers and dancers and providing for their artistic growth."

Behm-Thomson, who now lives in Minneapolis, has danced since she was 5 years old and had taken classes at Southwest School of Dance. She went on to study dance at the University of Minnesota and joined ARENA Dances in 1999 and Zenon Dance Company in 2000. She performs with and teaches at both places on a part-time basis.

The process for the McKnight Fellowship has changed during the years, Behm-Thomson said.

"When the McKnight was first established it was by nomination," she said.

Now it includes turning in an artist's statement, a resume, work samples, and a biography.

"It's something that's held in a very high regard," she said.

Behm-Thomson said most dancers in the Twin Cities apply for the McKnight.

"I've been applying for it for many years," Behm-Thomson said. This was her 12th time, she said. "The monetary value is so huge, to be selected is a big honor."

The fellowship is given to a dancer in the hopes it enhances his or her life, Behm-Thomson said. She plans on using it for more dancing opportunities and it allows her more chances to perform, especially with raising two young children, ages four and 20 months.

She said she was exposed to contemporary modern dance was at the U of M and in her years with Zenon has helped her develop as a dancer.

"The training I received there, the intensity of the work, that pushed it to a new level," Behm-Thomson said.

Besides teaching, Behm-Thomson said she does performances with individual choreographers around the Twin Cities.

"I try to pick projects to push me artistically," she said.

And work seems to keep coming she said, as dance is really supported in Minneapolis.

The Cowles Center for Dance, a new facility, is opening in September and she will perform there with two different companies.

Behm-Thomson also enjoys the teaching aspect of dance. She does classes in modern dance and creative movement with "little ones," she said, as well as jazz.

When she learned that she finally won a fellowship, Behm-Thomson said she was happy.

"It was almost like a relief," she said.

Behm-Thomson said her family has been a main source of support throughout the years.

"For them, they've watched me go through all these changes in life, but the constant has been dancing," Behm-Thomson said.

 
 

 

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