Library Curator Steps Closer to Fulfilling Dream and Helping Charities

Patrizia Nava

Patrizia Nava

Patrizia Nava, a curator at UT Dallas’ Eugene McDermott Library, is used to working with rare books, pictures and other historical items on display in the library’s Special Collections Department. But now, the spotlight shifts and she will be the one on display.

Stepping outside of her comfort zone and performing in the annual Dancin’ 4 A Cause has brought mixed emotions. Dancing the Argentine tango in front of a sold-out crowd would take weeks of serious preparation and mental focus. When she thought of the charities that would benefit from the event and her long-standing desire to perform, she knew her decision to dance was the right one.

Nava, a native of Germany who started working at UT Dallas in 2003, enrolled in dance lessons offered by UT Dallas Recreational Sports.

“I was looking for tango classes and saw an opportunity here on campus,” she said. “I heard about Dancin’ 4 A Cause. I was hoping to participate one day, but I wasn’t sure if I could.”

For Nava, who had no prior dance experience, one week turned into months. A year later, she has attended evening classes every week, learning the steps and technique of the tango. She is now considered an advanced dancer.

“Dancing gives me immense pleasure. It’s the joy of dancing that I love,” Nava said. “The tango is lifelong learning. There’s a leader and a follower. My brain has to be fully engaged to get the positioning of my feet and the sequence right and be connected with my partner.”

dancin' 4 a cause logo

Dancin’ 4 A Cause:
Tribute to the Legends

The performance is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday in the University Theatre. Tickets are $6 for students and children and $9 for adults. To purchase your ticket, go to the front desk of the Activities Center.

When Nava and her partner step on the stage in the University Theatre on Friday, they’ll be in good company. They are part of a group of students dancing the tango. Other faculty and staff members who take noncredit dance classes at UT Dallas will perform several other dance styles including Bollywood, hip-hop, hula hoop and contemporary. This year’s theme is “Tribute to the Legends” and will include dances to the music of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and many others.

“It’s really neat seeing people step outside of their box,” said Holly Worrell, coordinator of fitness and organizer of Dancin’ 4 A Cause. “This event really is a combination of seeing students from different cultures become excellent dancers and display what they’ve learned over the semester.”

Worrell started the event eight years ago. She thought it would be a great idea to have an annual dance concert where students could showcase what they’ve learned with the proceeds going to charity. The mother of a special needs child, Worrell picks two charities every year. This year, money from the event goes to the Special Olympics and Prayers for Richie. Richie Smith, 20, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012. UT Dallas is a big part of his family. His mother, Veronica Smith, and sister Alexis Smith BS'14, an applied cognition and neuroscience grad student, both work as yoga instructors for Recreational Sports. His father, Rick Smith BA'88 MS'93, is also an alumnus.

As Nava rehearses one last time, she’s focused on her dance and what it really symbolizes. For her, it’s a chance to do something she’s always wanted to do: perform.

“There’s this preconceived notion of an archivist. I don’t fit that profile. This is a different part of me,” she said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].