Perpich News

Davente Gilreath (Dance 2010) Speaks to Students During Common Experience

Davente Gilreath (Dance 2010) [right] with Mary Harding, Dance Instructor [left]

March 6, 2023

Perpich alum, Davente Gilreath (Dance 2010), spoke with students during Common Ex on Monday, March 6th. Common Ex is a series of presentations where students hear about the artistic life from practicing artists, many of whom are Perpich graduates.

Davente spoke about the power of dance in his life and how it has always provided a solid ground for him. “I’ve been able to speak through dance,” said Gilreath. Davente also shared his struggles with substance abuse and his pathway to sobriety, a journey he is currently walking.

“One of the beauties of our Common Experience program is that the speakers talk about so much more than the practical aspects of leading an artistically-influenced life,” said Conn McCartan, Principal. “Davente didn’t spend much time talking about dance. He talked about leading a deeply examined life. He encouraged us with wisdom like, ‘There is so much negativity in the world, you have to find the light in it.'”

Mary Harding, Dance Instructor, said this of her former student, “Davente is the kind of student that Rudy & Lola Perpich were thinking of when they started the arts high school. He came to Perpich with no traditional dance training yet dance was his calling. From Perpich, he went on to a BFA in dance and eventually danced professionally with Garth Fagan. Now back at home, he’s giving back to the young dance community. Watching him speak on Monday was a full-circle moment for me.”

Davente Gilreath replicates the dance move displayed on the elevator door, from his time as a Perpich student

Davente taught a class to the Perpich dancers in the fall of 2022. When he was on campus, Mary Harding showed him the 3rd floor elevator door, which proudly displays a photo of Davente when he was a student at Perpich. He will teach and set choreography on the Perpich dancers for their spring dance concert.

Davente Gilreath with Perpich Dance students, Fall 2022

Davente Gilreath was born and raised in Minnesota. He began his dance training at Perpich Center for Arts Education where he was exposed to various forms and styles of dance including modern, ballet, jazz, African, and contact improvisation. Gilreath then furthered his career and studies in dance at the University of Minnesota where he received his BFA in Dance studying from professors such as Ananya Chatterjea, Erin Thompson, and Toni Pierce‐Sands. During the pursuit of his degree, he was also able to perform and create work with local Minnesota‐based companies such as Contempo Physical Dance and Threads Dance Project. Gilreath Joined Garth Fagan Dance in 2014 and, during his eight years with the company, he was promoted to senior company member and appointed the Director of the Garth Fagan Dance Student Ensemble. He also taught Intermediate/Advanced Fagan Technique for the Garth Fagan Dance School and for the Garth Fagan Summer Movement Institute. Gilreath is now a dance instructor at The University of Minnesota.