Bill Dorland, Storyteller

Bill Dorland

BILL DORLAND, UMD Professor of Physics, Honors College Director

I grew up in rural Arkansas trailer parks. Our house had wheels and we used them! By the time I was eight, we had lived in 16 different towns and probably because of this nomadic lifestyle, I had no connection to the performing arts.

I had never seen modern dance or heard music… Chills ran up and down my spine!

But in Texarkana in 1980, the run-down theatre on Main Street was fully restored with a gift from billionaire H. Ross Perot. Texarkana had finally taken the wheels off of the trailer and
I signed up to be an usher at the newly christened Perot Theatre. For the first time in my life, I saw great performances live.

The first thrilling moment I ever experienced in that theatre — or any theatre — was a performance by the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. As I recall, they performed to music from Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I had never seen modern dance or heard music quite like that. Chills ran up and down my spine!

I was transfixed. I have never turned down an offer to go 
to a live performance since — music, dance, drama, musicals — I love them all!