John Thomas West, B.A., M.Ed, M.A.

is the headmaster at the Mirman School in Los Angeles. A graduate from Macalester College, Loyola-Marymount Graduate School of Education and UCLA’s Graduate School of Folklore and Mythology, Mr. West blends his academic background with his creative dance experiences.

John’s dance education started at the Lester Horton School of Dance when he was a child, in addition, he studied ballet under the tutelage of Jeanette Collins and tap at the Willie Covan Studios in Los Angeles. His modern dance and theatre experience was developed at Macalester College, where he was a psychology major with a theatre/dance minor. He has been a student of Dunham technique over the years, but has also been active as a dancer and choreographer in the fields of sacred and liturgical dance since 1967.

He co-founded the Valyermo Dancers in 1972 at St Andrew’s Abbey. His dance company was dedicated to transforming faith, prayer and ritual into the art of Dance and his company traveled broadly throughout the United States, Israel, and Australia. Mr. West attended the dance program at the University of Judaism, and was the Assistant Head of Upper School at Harvard-Westlake School where he also taught Utopian Literature and Dance. He serves on the Liturgy Committee of the Religious Education Congress of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and acts as a contributing member of the ongoing Seminar on African-American Liturgical Traditions for the North American Academy of Liturgy.

Mr. West has broad and extensive teaching and choreographic experiences, which include High Schools through Colleges, and two involvements with the Mark Taper Forum of Los Angeles (Bernstein’s “Mass” and the 1077 production of “Angel’s City”), and he was part of the 1987 pre-liturgy dance presentation at the Papal Mass in Dodger Stadium. His most recent work includes the debt performance of Marty Haugen’s “Luke: The Feast of Life”, and the video of Lucien Deiss’s, “The Passion of Our Lord According to John”, published by J.S. Pauluch/World Library Publications.