John Bedford is dean for the Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Arts Management at Oklahoma City University and producer of The American Spirit Dance Company and all of the dance performing activities at OCU.
He has an extensive background in all areas of arts management, having served as orchestra manager, tour manager, and director of audience development for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; as general manager of Dallas Ballet; as business manager of Light Opera of Manhattan in New York City; and as assistant director and acting director of the Maryland State Arts Council. He also founded Ballet-Under-the-Stars in Dallas.
Dean Bedford, along with Jo Rowan, wrote the plan which has guided the OCU dance program to international prominence for producing outstanding dancers and managers for the musical theatre and entertainment industries. He leads the management team for the American Spirit Dance Company's international goodwill and domestic tours. Dean Bedford is founder of arts management programs at Oklahoma City University. He created and taught Contracts and Management for Performers, Touring Performing Arts, Non-Profit Management of Performing Arts Organizations, and Presenting and Sponsoring Performances and Orchestra Management before turning the courses over to arts management faculty members. Additionally, he designed the curricula for the Dance Management and Entertainment Business degrees.
Dean Bedford holds degrees in Theatre, Business Administration, and Management, studied French horn at Juilliard, and was a member of the prestigious Congregation-of-the-Arts at Dartmouth College. He has also performed as an actor in Equity productions of Three Sisters, Right You Are If You Think You Are, Life With Mother, and Androcles and The Lion, production stage managed over sixteen dramatic and musical productions, and served on the technical staff for thirteen Equity musicals.
In 2000, the Malaysian-American Society selected Dean Bedford for its Most Distinguished Fellow Award for service to the people of Malaysia through dance and the performing arts. In 2001, he received the Tap Preservation Award from the St. Louis Tap Festival and the Robert L. Reed Tap Heritage Institute. In 2005, Dean Bedford was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Flo-Bert Award, the “Tony of Tap”, in New York city in 2006.