June 7, 2018
The MPA Alumni Association Board of Directors is pleased to announce the first annual recipient of the MPA Alumni Association Award. This award is intended to honor alumni of outstanding talent pursuing their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations, while embracing the spirit of MPA’s commitment to community and social outreach.
Deneane Richburg ’96 embraces all of these attributes and more. As the artistic director and founder of Brownbody, a company that combines figure skating, modern dance and theater to explore African-American culture and history, Richburg explores themes of race, stereotyping and reconciliation while being mindful of diversity, inclusion and equity.
She grew up a competitive figure skater, spending time in spaces where she felt she had to check her racial and cultural identity at the door, as the world of competitive skating was immersed in an ideology that excluded her ancestry’s truths. As she got older, she realized she needed to carve out a space for herself and her ancestral history.
While at Carleton College, she focused on contemporary African American literature and her first master’s degree from UW Madison centered on contemporary African American theater. Richburg then received her MFA in dance and choreography from Temple University.
In 2007, she founded Brownbody, a modern dance company that presents works on and off of the ice and has been the artistic director ever since, presenting inspiring and challenging works in the Twin Cities. On Friday, June 1, Richburg accepted the award from Annie Stewart ’11, chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, at MPA’s 2018 Senior Awards Ceremony, providing inspiration to the next generation of MPA alumni.