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National Dance Education Scholarship Named for Ralabate

Release Date: October 4, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Thomas P. Ralabate of Williamsville, associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University at Buffalo, has been awarded a significant and rare honor by Dance Masters of America, Inc. (DMA), which has set and certifies standards in university, college and private dance education since 1984.

The organization has created a scholarship in Ralabate's name to recognize the major role he played in establishing the Dance Masters' Teachers Training Program at UB five years ago.

More than 300 students a year come to UB from around the world to participate in the intense, pedagogical summer program in the science and art of teaching dance. After completing four years of training, successful candidates pass rigorous tests to be certified as teachers of dance.

Only certified graduates of the DMA program will be eligible to apply for the Ralabate scholarship, which will cover the cost of their advanced training during program.

Ralabate is an award-winning and internationally recognized teacher, dancer and choreographer who created UB's undergraduate curriculum in tap, jazz and social dance.

Vincent O'Neil, chair of the UB Department of Theatre and Dance, said the curriculum's solid academic core has produced "generations of dance graduates remarkable not only for their physical skills, but for their in-depth knowledge of their art form."

Ralabate's expertise in curriculum development was recognized by the DMA last year when he was named chair of its education committee, overseeing development of the organization's syllabi and certification testing.

His work as a teacher, dancer and choreographer has been marked by some of the field's most prestigious distinctions. A former North American Latin ballroom dance champion, he was named the first recipient of the Adele Artinean Award from DMA in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the establishment of educational standards for the art of dance. Ralabate received the association's Ivy Hall Foundation Award in 1966, an honor he shares with a select group that includes the late choreographer, director and dancer Gene Kelly and distinguished dancer/choreographer Edward Villella, and its Artistic Achievement Award in 1993.

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