MIT’s Thomas DeFrantz Visiting UTD as
‘Performance Innovations’ Resident

Artist Will Combine Dance, Theatre, Technology in Feb. 4 Performance

RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 24, 2006) — Dr. Thomas DeFrantz, a prominent faculty member in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Theatre and Dance program, is visiting The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) through Feb. 4 as the university’s second annual “Performance Innovations” resident in the School of Arts and Humanities. 

While at UTD, DeFrantz will work with students and local community members to develop a performance piece combining technology and contemporary social dance that will premiere at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 in UTD’s University Theatre. 

According to DeFrantz, the work, to be called, The House Music Project, will explore “technological shifts that pushed black music into the electronic age.”  MIT graduates Eto Oro and James Tolbert also will participate in the project.  Oro will design a mixed media archive of house music documentation in text, break beats, photographs and prepared video, and Tolbert created a computer engine that will generate images and sounds based on the movement of the dancers. 

UTD faculty member Venus Opal Reese created the annual distinguished residency program so that “noted performing, theatre, music and visual artists of African descent could premiere new works at UTD.”  Reese sees the program “as a university-wide initiative that fosters a win-win relationship, not only between the African American community in Dallas and UTD, but also among various schools and organizations on the UTD campus.” 

The program’s first resident, Rhodessa Jones, performed for a sold out crowd last January.

DeFrantz earned his B.A. degree in music composition and theater studies from Yale University, his M.A. degree in liberal studies from the City College of New York and his Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University.

The residency and performance are made possible by several UTD sponsors, including the Office of the President, the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of General Studies, the Office of Student Affairs and External Relations, the Galerstein Women’s Center, the McDermott Library, Multicultural Services and the Student Union and Activities Advisory Board.

Tickets to the performance are $15.  Admission is free to UTD students with valid identification.  UTD ticket office hours are from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday though Friday, and at the door one hour prior to show time.  To purchase tickets using Visa, MasterCard or Discover, please call 972-883-2552. 

More information about the performance can be found at

For information about the many musical, arts, theatre, dance and other performances and exhibitions held throughout the year at UTD, please call 972-UTD-ARTS (972-883-2787), e-mail [email protected], or visit the School of Arts and Humanities’ Web site at  Persons with disabilities needing special accommodations may call 972-883-2982, Texas Relay Operator: 1-800-RELAYVV.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls nearly 14,500 students.  The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.  The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.  For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at