1. Faculty

Richard Powers

Social and Historical Dance, Opera and Musical Theatre

Courses Taught

  • Beginning Theatrical Dance
  • Social and Historical Dance


  • Master’s (Self-designed Major in the Creative Process), Stanford University
  • BSME, Purdue University

Awards and Distinctions

  • Notable Graduate, Centennial Issue of Stanford Magazine
  • Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award, Stanford University
  • Post-Corbett Award for Artist of the Year

What is your hometown?

Emerald Hills, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Dance, history, good friends, not destroying our planet.

Who were your major teachers?

Dr. Ingrid Brainard and Victor Papanek.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

A favorite quote that I tell my students? Hmm, so many. "Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good." —Bertolt Brecht.

My favorite quote personally: "The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both." —Zen Buddhist Text

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“How can I do the most good in the world while doing the least harm?”

What was a turning point in your career?

No turning point. My career has been a steady evolution and expansion, never static.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Learning something, anything, new. Asking more questions.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

From a dance history perspective, Paris 1844–48.

What are your most important collaborations?

My most important collaboration is always the current one, which now is choreographing Alma Deutscher's Cinderella for Opera San Jose.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Jose Maria Condemi, Bill Irwin, and Chelsea Clinton.