University of Arizona
School of Dance

Sam Watson

Arizona Jazz

Dance Showcase

September 27-29, 2024

School of Dance Faculty

Sam Watson

Sam Watson, Associate Professor of Practice at the UA School of Dance, teaches Jazz and Modern Dance technique classes, Choreography Composition for BFA majors and offers lectures in Jazz Dance History. In addition to his teaching & lecturing, Mr. Watson advises BFA choreography projects and MFA thesis choreography projects.

Mr. Watson began his dance training at Northern Kentucky University where he studied Graham technique. He moved to Chicago to train with Jazz Dance icon, Gus Giordano and was a member of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago International touring company as well as serving on the faculty of the Giordano Dance Center. Sam then joined the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, performing principal roles of international choreographers including Paul Taylor and Lar Lubovitch. He contributed several works to CRDE's repertoire including choreography premiered at the World Expo'88 in Brisbane, Australia and was selected along with choreographer Christina Ernst to co-direct a chamber company of CRDE, Ernst/Watson Dance. He formed his own touring performance group, Wats On Dance, appearing in events such as the Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago, Washington D.C., Nagoya Japan and Wiesbaden Germany, The Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase, Tucson, Arizona, The ARENA 225 International Summer Course in Zurich, Switzerland, Skip Entertainment in Guam, and with numerous local dance groups and organizations across the U.S.

His choreographic works have been featured in the repertoire of professional dance companies including Giordano Dance Chicago and River North Dance Company in Chicago, Aspen/ Santa Fe Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Ballet Tucson, Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, Marietta, Ga., The Big Muddy Dance Company, St. Louis, Mo. and Masashi Action Machine, Nagoya, Japan. Mr. Watson was a featured choreographer for over five years at the Santa Fe Dance Festival hosted by Moving People Dance Theater in Santa Fe, NM. His choreography performed by MPDT was filmed by documentary cinematographer/director Christopher Wright and was made into a documentary film in 2009 about Mr. Watson’s career entitled Oh Watson.

Sam has traveled annually to Europe for over 35 years, where he teaches in workshops and international dance festivals in Modern Dance Technique, Jazz Dance Technique and The Joy of Dance, a class developed for people 50 years and older.

He served as Guest Artist in Residence at The University of California in San Diego and The University of Nevada Las Vegas as well as a faculty member for Tremaine Dance Conventions before joining the University of Arizona School of Dance faculty in 1999.

Sam Watson