Rose Anne Thom

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1946 - 2018
Rose Anne Thom died on July 21, after a three-year battle with uterine cancer. Her departure, far too soon for her family and those who loved her, was characteristically on her own terms. Born in Montreal, to Sarah and Abbey Sankoff, Rose Anne studied and loved dance from an early age. She graduated from McGill University where she met Peter Thom in a production of the annual Red and White Revue and together they decided to move to New York where they both built successful careers.
Rose Anne began her NY career as a dance critic for Dance Magazine and Ballet Review, and her byline became known for succinct yet detailed descriptions of what she saw and why it mattered. She was an esteemed member of the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College for 40 years, teaching dance history, Labanotation, pedagogy, and critical writing. Her work with students was marked with care, respect, and a love of inquiry and intellectual exploration. She was a demanding yet extraordinarily generous teacher who supported and nudged her students, instilling in them a drive to discover their passion while engaging in serious work. In the last few weeks many have written about how she changed the trajectory of their lives with her high expectations and warm encouragement.
Rose Anne lived her life with enthusiasm, grace, and love that she shared widely, but that emanated from the authentic, deep, and abiding partnership she shared with Peter. They raised their daughters Maggie and Lily, with respect, humor, and extraordinary love. They welcomed their friends, and later Maggie's husband, Gian-Murray Gianino, and Lily's husband, James Lilly, with genuine interest and unabashed affection. Their homes in Manhattan and Kent were havens for friends, colleagues, and students drawn into a circle of love, laughter, good meals, hard work, and candor. Rose Anne cherished the too-short time she had with her beloved grandchildren: Sebastian, Margaret, Jasper and Nathaniel. She also adored her role as Aunt to Adrienne, Jay, Denise, Irene, David and Simon, and great-Aunt to Alan, Zachary, Samantha and Molly. Rose Anne leaves behind her brothers, Irwin and David Sankoff. We all grieve the loss of her vibrant spirit.
Published in The New York Times from Aug. 8 to Aug. 9, 2018