Remembering Doug Caldwell

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Remembering Doug Caldwell

I'm truly saddened by the news of a wonderful dance pioneer, mentor, and teacher, Doug Caldwell.  

 As a 17-year-old girl, my memories of him burn brightly in my mind. He commanded the room, the dance floor was his playground and his body was the canvas which unleashed the passion in what sparked a massive trend of what became known as lyrical dance. 

 When you watched him, you could feel his energy and passion when he moved, he brought us to another dimension. Doug held the magic.   

 My good childhood friend, and creator of MOVE and MoveTVNetworkMelinda Songer Soderling, absolutely adored Doug Caldwell. As I recall, she would cry each time he danced and when she went to LA to pursue her dance dreams, she had privilege and pleasure to work closely with him.


 When I heard the devastating news about his passing, my thoughts went immediately to Melinda and my alma mater studio, Birmingham Dance Theatre. The memories flooded my mind on how he impacted me and everyone who had the pleasure to meet and dance with him. 

 On social media, the pictures, memories, and heartfelt condolences poured out to let the world know that the dance community lost a precious soul.

 Although my encounter with him is only a wrinkle in time, he left a lasting impression on me. He taught me a hard lesson and one that could resonate with most dancers who go on to audition for roles.  Back then, There was an opportunity to go out to LA for a month, to gain more experience and instruction from the top leaders in the dance industry. Doug had choreographed and instructed the audition combo for us participants at the Tremaine Convention. 

 To this day, I remember him saying, “I need a double pirouette here, NOT a Triple or anything else, otherwise, you will be cut”...

 I got excited and fair to say my ego got the best of me....  and “Ooops” I pulled the triple pirouette and out of the audition I went! Ouch! 

 Yes, I was devastated at the time, however, he had integrity and showed no favorites during the audition. He taught me that I needed to listen to the choreographer. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be coachable and I would be a nightmare to work with if I didn’t control myself. 

 One has to have respect for a man like him.  How I appreciate that moment in my life! I realized he was a true teacher, one who loved his craft and who loved the dancers. I will forever be grateful for that little lesson and I can share the experience with my dancers today. 

 I doubt he ever knew how he impacted me and his positive imprint on my life.  

 Thank you, Doug Caldwell, you truly are the epitome of a Dance Junkie.  

 May you rest in peace and continue to dance in heaven. 


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