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Friday Conversation: Lily Cabatu Weiss, Head of Booker T. Washington Dance

by Anne Bothwell 13 Jun 2014 2:32 PM

KERA’s Rick Holter chats with Lily Cabatu Weiss, who’s retiring from Booker T.



Lily and RickThe last few weeks have rocked the North Texas dance community. Bruce Wood, a pillar of that community, died suddenly – and last night, his Bruce Wood Dance Project began a two-day tribute at Dallas City Performance Hall.

At the same time, Ann Williams is retiring from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre that she founded. And the woman who trained many of North Texas’ top dancers is stepping away from the barre at Booker T. Washington high school. Her name is Lily Cabatu Weiss, and she sits down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for this week’s Friday Conversation

Listen to the interview that aired on KERA:


Interview Highlights: Lily Cabatu Weiss…

…on her long career at Booker T: “I always knew I would have a long career, but I didn’t know it was going to be this long. I thought I was going to bring the school back into the new building and that I would spend probably the first two or three years to get us re-acclimated into the arts district. And then I thought after three years I can walk away. Well, it’s been six now.”

…on growing up in El Paso and her performing arts background: “The background is indirect. My parents are first generation Filipinos and my mother made sure that the Filipino culture was part of our upbringing. She taught us all the Filipino folk dances and she also had me singing at a very young age. It’s very interesting, I appeared on ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ as a singer, in Portland, Oregon if you can figure that out. Without a doubt there’s a strong Filipino community in El Paso, Texas because it is a military community with a base there.”

…on the impact of choreographer Bruce Wood’s death: “It’s huge, I consider Bruce a good friend. And of course, Booker T. Washington, he has used our studios. I think Bruce has opened up doors for dance in Dallas, in this North Texas area, and I hope that it continues.”