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Ann Paeth carried her multiple talents with grace and with the gentlest of self-conscious laughs.

At Hope, she shined as bright as her eyes that widened in a modest gasp at any surprise that came her way. She was a dancer, a choreographer, a poet, a scholar, one of those students who becomes a colleague and a friend. Ann not only followed her interests, she took an interest in everything. She traipsed after her curiosity wherever it might lead. There was a kind of Blakean earned innocence about her. Everything was new and naive; her soul was old and wise. We all loved how she would tilt her head and lower her left eyebrow when she was feeling hesitant about some idea or observation. (Skeptical is a bit too sharp a word for her.) It was almost as if Ann was coyly intellectual. She'd phrase the most complex insight, then look at you, shake her head ever so slightly, smile, and say, "Don't you think?"

After graduating from Hope, Ann was accepted to the MFA program in poetry at Ohio State. Here's what her thesis advisor there, poet and editor Kathy Fagan, wrote to me yesterday. "I liked her very much. She was so very much alive. Funny and serious. Both."

After completing her MFA, Ann moved to California where she was pursuing yet another degree, this time in dance theory where she was working through some highly complex ideas that she had traced throughout the history of dance.

When Ann would return to Hope, she would stay with us. She had her own room and would make meals and go about her way, visiting professors and going to dance classes. The last time she was here, she was invited to lecture in the dance courses. She always had something controversial to offer and, never one to impose, she'd always offer her ideas as "something to consider."

Ann loved our cats and dogs. And they her, curling up with her on the couch when she would begin a conversation. She was under the delusion that I was as young in my energy level as she was, and once a conversation started, there was never a pause. It would wander past Letterman and way past this old guy's bedtime. Her mind was a topography of associations that had no boundary.

Today our dog met me at the door carrying the toy bear Ann had given him as a thank you for letting her stay with us.

© 2015 Hope College Department of Dance | 168 E. 13th St. | Holland, MI 49423 | phone: 616.395.7700 | fax: 616.395.7090