Obituary: RIORDAN, ANNE

Published: Friday, Aug. 29 2014 5:07 p.m. MDT

Anne Riordan "Kick up your heels and dance"

On Saturday, January 22, 2011, we lost an artistic giant housed in a very small body. Anne Riordan was born on July 30, 1934, to Juanita Crawford Broberg and Francis Marvin Broberg in Salt Lake City, Utah. Anne attended the University of Utah, graduating with a B.S. in Modern Dance in 1956. Anne studied dance with Virginia Tanner, Elizabeth Hayes, Shirley Ririe, Joan Woodbury, Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Lucas Hoving, Murray Louis, and Anna Halprin. While studying dance in New York, she worked as a guide at the United Nations. She returned to Utah intending to dance professionally and teach. However, a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis caused her to reassess her goals, and she began a long and distinguished career instituting dance as a legitimate art form for mentally and physically disabled individuals. Anne completed coursework for a Master's Degree in Special Education in 1968. She taught dance and adaptive physical education in the Granite School District from 1969 through 1971. She began teaching dance at the University of Utah in 1971, retiring as Professor Emerita in 1997. Anne taught seven different courses, one of which was a Liberal Education Course entitled Dance: A Creative Process. This course was exceedingly popular with a wide range of students from every discipline and sport on campus. In 1975, through the Work Activity Center, she created Sunrise Dance Company, a company for mentally disabled adults, and Sunrise Wheels, a company for wheelchair-bound individuals. During her illustrious career, Anne presented over 80 performances with Sunrise and presented at 38 national conferences. She conducted 52 dance residencies in which she trained teachers to bring dance and creative movement to special populations. Anne was the subject of six documentary films, and she was featured in four influential publications. She received 15 major awards including Utah Honors in the Arts Award from the Chamber of Commerce in 1984, Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Utah in 1986-1987, Utah Professor of the Year for 1992 awarded by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Presidential Scholar Award in 1993, and the Cathedral of the Madeleine Award for Arts and Humanities in 2006. Anne was a pioneer in dance and creative movement for individuals with physical and mental disabilities. She established dance as a vital and integral part of education for special populations. The national model for special education is based in part on the many contributions of this remarkable woman. Upon retirement, Anne followed another of her passions with great zest, humor, and uniqueness . . . drawing, sculpting, and painting on any surface that caught her fancy. Anne was a trusted friend, advisor, confidante, teacher, and guru to many. She was an exceptional human being whose wisdom, brilliance, and essence can never be replaced. Anne is survived by her husband of 43 years, Michael Riordan; daughter Stacia (Dave) Sidlow; son Christian (Jennifer) Pocock; grandchildren Letesha, Samantha, Curtis, Jessica, Finnian, Merritt, and Beckett. She was preceded in death by her brother Marvin and son Merritt. Anne wished to thank her physicians Dr. James E. Pearl, Dr. Susan Mirow, Dr. Ray Thomason, Dr. Don Stromquist, pharmacist Richard Rasmussen and staff of the University Pharmacy, and her dear friend and caretaker Rosario Gill. Services will be held on Friday, January 28, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. at Neil O'Donnell & Sons Mortuary, 372 East 100 South, where friends may call on Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Anne's name to the Arthritis Foundation of Utah, the Sjogren's Foundation, or the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.