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Myra Jean Woodruff, 65, of Dallas, Texas, peacefully passed away on August 23, 2023, at a Dallas Hospital, surrounded by loved ones. She is now dancing in heaven.
Myra was born August 11, 1958, in Longview, Texas, to Bobbie and Bert Woodruff of Kilgore, Texas. Her family and friends were a source of happiness and she loved being with them, especially traveling with them. She meant so much to so many people and was a caring and generous person. Another source of her happiness were her students. She loved them very much and truly cared about their success and well-being. They in turn loved her greatly. She was a Professor of Dance at Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas where she taught all levels of Modern Dance, specifically the Graham technique. She also served as chair of the SMU Division of Dance from the fall of 2004 through spring of 2010. Prior to teaching at SMU, she lived in New York City for many years where she obtained a B.A. in individualized study at New York University. While in New York City she trained at the esteemed Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. While at the school she performed in the Martha Graham Ensemble from 1983 to 1987 and also served as a full-time faculty member of the school from 1985 to 1995. From 1987 to 1995 she danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company, appearing in over 25 ballets and also participated in the reconstruction of eight works and four new creations under the direction of Martha Graham. Myra served as an official re-stager of the Martha Graham repertory under the Martha Graham Trust. While a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company, Myra performed in ancient theatres of Ephesus, Turkey, Pompeii, Italy, as well as in Athens, Greece at the Acropolis. She also toured India, Brazil, Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, Argentina, to name a few. From 1995 to 1998, Myra served as a visiting associate professor of dance at Florida State University. Then from 1998 to 2004, Myra became the first full-time modern dance teacher of the Rudra Bejart School in Lausanne, Switzerland. She was invited to teach by the Bejart School’s Founder, Maurice Bejart and the School Director Michel Gascard. Myra toured and travelled with the students through Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, serving as guest dancer.
Myra was preceded in death by her parents, Bobbie Louise Woods Woodruff and Bert Ellsworth Woodruff of Kilgore, Texas; brother David Edward Woodruff; maternal grandparents Emma B. and Lemuel B. Woods; paternal grandparents Willie M. and Mark C. Woodruff; maternal aunt C. Othalene Yates; maternal uncle Willie E. Woods; paternal uncle M.C. Woodruff; and paternal aunt Evelyn Woodruff Tackitt.
Myra is survived by her twin sister, Martha Gail Woodruff and husband Richard Coplin of Kilgore, Tx.; sister Donna Louise Woodruff Chrastecky and husband Michael of Pflugerville, Tx; sister, Wanda Joy Woodruff of Santa Barbara, Ca.; partner Steve Jarchow of Dallas, Tx.; nephew Colin Woodruff Fletcher and partner Danielle Warden, of Jarrell, Tx.; niece Brittany Jean Fletcher Seyb and husband Justin of Leander, Tx.; nephew Travis Lane Chrastecky of Pflugerville, Tx.; nephew Steven Bert Chrastecky of Pflugerville, Tx.; aunt Wanda Lee Miller of Gilmer, Tx.; uncle L.B. Woods, Jr. of Tyler, Tx.; cousin Joe Bob Miller of Gilmer, Tx.; cousin Susan Gayle Miller of Gilmer, Tx.; and cousin John Alan Miller of Gilmer, Tx.; great nieces Brianna Isabelle Seyb and Caroline Elizabeth Seyb of Leander, Tx.; and great nephews Benjamin Maxwell Seyb and Robert Samuel Seyb of Leander, Tx.
Myra requested there be no funeral, but instead would like for us all to have fun doing something we enjoy. Burial will be at Bethlehem Cemetery in Upshur County, Texas near Gilmer, Texas, with family present.
In lieu of flowers, tribute gifts may be made in Myra’s honor to the following scholarship fund: SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Division of Dance, Scholarship for Modern Dance, c/o Nick Weege, P.O. Box 750356, Dallas, Tx. 75275-0356. Please indicate “for Myra J. Woodruff” on your gift. For questions, please contact Nick Weege at 214-768-2610, or at email@example.com.
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