Lynn McMurrey– Dance

Claudia Anaya

After a career at the college that included building the dance department and staging countless productions, greatly influencing the lives and careers of the many students that he guided through training and performance, Lynn McMurrey, 69, is retiring this month – his final act: one last show this weekend in the auditorium.

The Distinguished Faculty Award-winner began teaching part-time in 1979, going full-time in 1982.

When he first came to GCC it was called “the great school without a campus,” said McMurrey, due to the temporary bungalows that were rapidly falling apart as well as the five buildings that made up the campus.

Over the years, McMurrey has seen the campus flourish and expand.

McMurrey explained that when the dance department was first established, the administration “did not know anything about dance” and gave the department a certain amount of money for the year that was to be used at their own discretion.

Anytime the department had money left over, McMurrey would buy a light or anything that might improve the quality of staging in the north gym.

“I have really enjoyed what I have done here,” said McMurrey, “and I’m very proud of the dance department that we built and its practice here.

“I hope it’s carried on after I’m gone – that we never hire teachers who are not professional dancers in their field. Not only do they have to have a masters degree, that’s required to teach in a community college, but they’ve also had experience in dancing on stage, television, films,” he said. “I don’t think you can teach an art form unless you’ve actually practiced it.”

His most memorable moments always include students, and he is always delighted when students come back to visit him and inform him of their success.

“One particular student was from the inner city and was quite a troublemaker at first,” said McMurrey. “Until he learned that he could have control over his life and what he was doing. He had somehow gotten the message that he was dumb and he could not learn, so the only thing he could do successfully was gangbang.”

After a couple of years in dance classes he told McMurrey that he had gotten an A in math, and that he attributed his success to skills he learned in dance class – skills that enabled him to take control of his actions.

McMurrey’s last faculty-alumni performance, which he described as “fantastic,” will start Friday at 8 p.m. in the auditorium, and continue Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.. Admission is free.