Guest of Honor, Dean Valerie Ashby’s remarks for November Dances 2015

It is my sincere pleasure to join you this evening.  Thank you so much to Purnima and to everyone in the Dance program for the gracious invitation.  I hope that you are anticipating with as much excitement as I am the performances that we will witness.

I must tell you that I am thrilled by what this department, these faculty members, staff members, and students mean to the liberal arts education that we are able to deliver in Trinity.  I am inspired by all that my colleagues in this...

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Call for Papers! Contemporary Ballet: Exchanges, Connections and Directions

An SDHS Special Topics Conference at the Center for Ballet and the Arts, New York University, and the Department of Dance, Barnard College, Columbia University

May 20-21, 2016 

Call for Papers

Contemporary ballet is undoubtedly a recognizable genre for most dancers. It is...

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Rubenstein gives $25 million for new $50 million, 71,000-square foot Arts Center

The new Arts Center is expected to be a “game-changer for the arts at Duke” at the corner of Anderson Street and Campus Drive across from the Nasher Museum of Art.  Construction is set to begin next month.

Link to Duke Chronicle article, by Amrith Ramkumar, Monday, October 5:

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Duke Dance Program Seeks New Faculty Hire

The Duke University Program in Dance seeks an outstanding dance researcher and artist practitioner who will contribute significantly to the new MFA in Dance: Live Art and Embodied Practice, in teaching, research, and the advising of MFA thesis projects. We welcome an individual who will both expand and extend the areas of expertise of the current faculty in terms of research, international engagement, and teaching across degree programs (MFA and BA). We value a colleague whose research is...

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"Therapeutic Potential of a Drum and Dance Ceremony Based on the African Ngoma Tradition"

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has published an article by Prof. Ava LaVonne Vinesett, Miurel Price, and Dr. Kenneth H. Wilson called "Therapeutic Potential of a Drum and Dance Ceremony Based on the African Ngoma Tradition." The research and clinical trial was made possible through the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation and the Duke Dance Program.


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Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) Conference, February 19 - 21, 2016: Call for Proposals

CADD hosted our inaugural conference, Dancing the African Diaspora: Theories of Black Performance at Duke University, February 7-9, 2014. The next CADD conference will be held at Duke University, February 19-21, 2016.  Click here to go to the CADD website.

The Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD) is an egalitarian community of...

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Perserverence in the Face of Resistance

Read Prof. Andrea E. Woods Valdés inspirational article published by Duke Magazine. 

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2014-15 Dance Program Newsletter

Featuring recent news about Dance Program students and faculty.

Edited by: Dr. Purnima Shah

Please click the link below to download the Newsletter PDF


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Dance teacher, choreographer Jan Van Dyke dies

The Dance Program mourns the loss of this wonderful artist.  Please join family and friends of Jan Van Dyke for a memorial gathering on Saturday, August 22 at 3:00pm in the Dance Theater on the UNCG campus. The program will celebrate Jan’s life and career as an artist, scholar, teacher, and friend through selected speakers and video. A reception will follow the program. Please be aware that seating in the theater is extremely limited, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis...

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Dance Program's Natalie Marrone choreographs dance for film coming to Durham in August

The feature film, "Alto," written and directed by Mikki del Monico, is the Women's Feature at the NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, August 14-22. Duke Dance Program instructor Natalie Marrone's choreography, using traditional Italian dance, serves as the pivoting point in the film starring Annabella Sciorra, Diana DeGarmo, Billy Wirth, Lin Tucci, and Natalie Knepp.
Shot on location in New York City, Marrone choreographed the Italian Festival scene with dancers from North...

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Courtney Liu debuts in the Phantom of the Opera

Congratulations to Courtney Kristen Liu on her debut in the New York Broadway cast of the Phantom of the Opera, June 13, 2015! LINK:

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Dance Across the Diaspora: A Historical Lens on a Black Cultural Movement

Saturday, July 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Atlanta, Georgia (July 7, 2015) – To inaugurate its stunning 2015 season, the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) presents the all-day Symposium “Dance Across the Diaspora: A Historical Lens on a Black Cultural Movement” on Saturday, July 18 at the High Museum of Art. Through discussion, presentation and participatory offerings, local, national and international dance experts, scholars and...

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Configurations in Motion: Performance Curation & Communities of Color

June 27-28, 2015
Duke University // SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology

SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture and Technology at Duke University will host a two-day event on June 27 and 28, 2015 to address how curatorial practice and live arts presenting can engage the particular concerns of audiences and artists of color. Configurations in Motion: Performance Curation and Communities of Color will gather performers, curators, scholars, presenters, and managers from throughout...

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Senior Dinstinction Projects by Ellen Brown and Rebecca Holmes!

The Duke Dance Program would like to congratulate Ellen Brown (left) and Rebecca "Becky" Holmes (right) for achieving a Distinction with their senior projects!

Ellen Brown, senior in Dance and Psychology, titled her project "The Effects of Emotion in Dance Performance on Observers’ Immediate Emotional State."

Dance major Rebecca Holmes' project was titled "Dance in Elementary Education as a Means to Increase Collaborative and Creative Development of Students" which included an...

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"Alto" film wins Audience Choice Award at Festival!

Adjunct instructor Natalie Marrone choreographed a crucial dance scene for the film, "Alto," which recently won the Audience Choice Award at the VisionFest film festival at Tribeca Cinemas in New York. Natalie also announced that the film has been accepted into the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco.

Marrone’s choreography, using traditional Italian dance, serves as the pivoting point in the film ALTO starring Annabella Sciorra, Diana DeGarmo, Billy Wirth, Lin Tucci, and Natalie...

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Congratulations to Ellen Brown!

Her final project, a few notes of mine, from Dance for the Camera (Dance 306s) has been chosen to be featured in the University of South Florida Dance Shorts: College Film Festival Gala. Her work will be screened on April 18th, 2015 in the Concert Hall at 7:30pm.

See more Duke Dance for the Camera works -...

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Faculty Response to the Recent Racially Charged Events on Campus

Dear members of the Duke community,

The recent racially charged events on campus, including the display of a noose on the Bryan Center plaza, bring to us all a heightened awareness of the persistent effort required to ensure that Duke is experienced by all as a welcoming community that embraces diversity.  At yesterday’s event on the Chapel steps, undergraduate students, graduate students, and members of the administration spoke eloquently to affirm of Duke’s commitment to this ideal...

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Thomas F. DeFrantz Presents Talk at the International Colloquium

The International Colloquium: The Contemporary African in the Performing Arts - Theoretical, Poetical and Pedagogic Perspectives

The central aim of the colloquium is to increase the dialogues among artists, researchers and educators who are dedicated to the studies of contemporary afro-Brazilian and african diasporic cultures and their insertions with the field of Performing Arts. This international meeting intends to share and compare different approaches and research methodologies,...

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Duke Performances Announces Arts Administration Internship

Duke Performances is seeking ambitious, highly-motivated, organized, and detail-oriented individuals at the undergraduate or graduate level with an interest in arts administration to assist the Duke Performances staff for summer (mid-May to mid-August) and academic year (early September to late April) internships. Internships are paid and provide a unique opportunity to learn about and be directly involved in all facets of arts administration from a leading university-based arts presenting...

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ChoreoLab 2015 to pay tribute to a departing dean

The Duke University Dance Program will present its spring dance concert, ChoreoLab 2015, at 8 p.m. on March 27-28 in Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or from the Duke Box Office ( or 919-684-4444).

This year’s ChoreoLab will be presented as a tribute to Dr. Laurie Patton, who is stepping down as the Dean of Trinity College Arts and Sciences to accept the position of President at Middlebury College.


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Dance group performs, teaches art of flamenco in Durham

From the Raleigh News & Observer: "Duke Dance Program Hosts Series." by Jonathan M. Alexander,
February 28, 2015.



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Dance Writing Award Competition - Deadline March 15

The Dance Writing Award is a competitive award presented annually. The winning paper will be chosen among submissions that are received by March 15, 2015. The Dance Writing Award recognizes the Duke University undergraduate who has written a paper demonstrating excellence in dance writing and has proven her ability to translate the moving text to the written word.

Award: $250


  • The submission may be a paper written specifically for this competition, or a...
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HOT WATER - Water, Peace & War - Call for Contributions

'HOT WATER – Water, Peace & War' will form a virtual exhibition, made by entries from artists, scientists, activists and youth from around the world.
Deadline 14 March 2015. Detailed info in EnglishEspañol & ...

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Please Welcome New Ballet Instructor, James Strong

James Strong has 14 years of professional experience performing ballet and modern dance in diverse styles from a broad spectrum of choreographers. James strives to teach students proper classical technique while emphasizing musicality, personal expression and the performance aspect of the art form. His previous performance experience with San Francisco-based Smuin Ballet, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, and Koresh Dance Company has given him a rich and rewarding outlook in defining the...

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A Sublime Touch, From Head to Heel

"Odissi Stars at a Dance Festival in Chennai, India" - Read the recent article in the New York Times regarding the Nrityagram company, which will be in residence and performing at Duke, January 20-22. (For more info, go to Events)


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2014 Newsletter

Editor's Report on the Duke University Dance Program, Purnima Shah, Editor.  

View 2014 Dance Newsletter

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Mary Hinkson (March 16, 1925 – November 26, 2014)

Prof. Andrea Woods Valdés writes: "Hi Friends, just passing on the news. I few years ago I did a phone interview with Mary for an article I wrote about her friend and fellow Graham dancer, Matt Turney. Seeing Mary Hinkson (also from Philly) dance in "A Dancer's World" was a turning point in my life."


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November Dances 2014

New Modern, African, Ballet, and Jazz works by dance faculty: Andrea E. Woods Valdés, Ava LaVonne Vinesett, Tyler Walters, Nina Wheeler and advanced student choreographers: Ellen Brown, Stephanie Joe, Haylee Levin, and Anne Talkington. 

Friday, November 21 
Saturday, November 22
8 p.m. | Reynolds Industries Theater

Read all about it in the Duke...

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Fall 2014 Dance For The Camera

See our blog for new works by: 
Katalina Bock, Ellen Brown, Cindy Li, Claire Tucker, Julie Bellantoni, AJ Laudenslager, Haylee Levin, Natalie Lubin, Claire Tucker, Lauren Rosen. Featuring dancers: Sarah Atkinson, Casey Black, Cosette Glodstien, Stephanie Jo, Kendall Covington, Melissa Lee, Jennifer Margano, Anika Richter, Kaley Thornton.

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Namely, Muscles...but first, the spine

Read all about Christina Lan's experience in the Experiential Anatomy Workshop led by visiting artists Kate Trammel and Sharon Babcock.

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Blog: Ava LaVonne Vinesett​ writes about being in Brazil not for the World Cup

Ava LaVonne Vinesett​, Director of Undergraduate Studies & Associate Professor of the Practice of Dance and Faculty Director of the Baldwin Scholars Program, writes about being in Brazil not for the World Cup.

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Richard Vinesett to teach West African Drumming workshop

On Friday, September 5, 11:45AM-1:00PM, Richard Vinesett, Director of Music for African Dance within the Dance Program, will conduct a class on West African drumming in the Ark Dance Studio. 

This class will be in conjunction with Dance 375-Music for Dancers. Students will learn about the musical instruments used to perform this music, basic rhythms, how to hear a break, and more. No prior experience necessary. 

There are a limited number of spaces available for Duke students,...

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SLIPPAGE presents: where did i think i was going? [moving into signal]

Conceived and Performed by Thomas F. DeFrantz,  DUKE Professor of African and African American Studies, Dance, and Theater Studies, with Kenneth David Stewart.

SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology announces the premiere of where did i think i was going? [moving into signal], a dance technology interface work, to be performed at the PSI Theater at Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris Street, Durham, NC, on August 28 and 29, 2014.    

Performances are at 7pm Thursday and Friday,...

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John Hanks:"Full Tilt Boogie" at the American Dance Festival

John Hanks, Staff Associate with the Duke Dance Program, provides live accompaniment for American Dance Festival classes at Duke University, whether the dancers need a slow warm-up piece, a waltz, or a "full-tilt boogie." He's an improvisational one-man band!" View Youtube video:

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Duke Office of Civic Engagement - Civic Lives: Keval Khalsa

Keval Khalsa

Keval Kaur Khalsa, a Faculty Advisory Board member of the Duke Office of Civic Engagement, discusses how Duke helps her engage in the community, why universities are an important incubator for artists, and why yoga and movement are essential de-stressors for her students.

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The Ark Studio gets a new floor and locker room

Here some photos of the new dance floor in the Ark, as well as snapshots of the new locker rooms located in the lower level.


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Moonlighting the arts: Professors by day, performers by night

Thomas F. DeFrantz

Read this Duke Chronicle article featuring Duke Dance Program Professors, Thomas H. DeFrantz and Keval Khalsa.

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Duke Arts Journal: Andrea Woods Valdés: Dancer, Teacher, Scholar

Andrea Woods Valdés, Associate Professor of the Practice of Dance at Duke, is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. Her academic focus is on women in the arts, Afro-Cuban dance and music, and the history and culture of the African diaspora. She is also a video artist and musician. .... CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

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Cardea Fellow and senior Miurel Price is studying how dance therapy can improve the health of elderly populations.

Price is a Program II major studying artistic holistic therapies and their contribution to healthcare, with a specific focus on dance therapy. Holistic therapies are forms of alternative medicine that focus on healing the whole person—including their psychological, physical and social needs—rather than a specific disease or issue.

The Fayetteville, North Carolina native began working with Grace Healthcare of Durham, a local nursing home, to fulfill a service-learning requirement for a...

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Bass Connections Project Funds Yoga Research

Keval Kaur Khalsa, Associate Professor of the Practice of Dance & Theater Studies at Duke University, and Michele Berger, Associate Professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, have received a Bass Connections grant from Duke University for their research project Mindfulness In Education & Human Development.

Launched by a $50 million gift from Anne and Robert Bass, Bass Connections supports interdisciplinary teams...

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SOULOWORKS celebrates turning 20 with multimedia production

Apr. 30, 2014 @ 01:14 PM. By Susan Broili; special to The Herald-Sun. 

If a theater production could be compared to a bagel, Andrea E. Woods’ new show would be of the everything variety. That’s because, for the first time, she’s been able to concoct an evening-length work that has everything she’s always wanted to include. Her new work, “The Amazing Adventures of Grace May B. Brown,” features dance, music, singing, narration, folk art and photographic images.  ...

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Thomas F. DeFrantz in the New York Times

Professor DeFrantz and SLIPPAGE played a contributing roll in a recent Dance Theater of Harlem performance of “past-carry-forward.”  Read the New York Times review here: .

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Monica Hogan Danceworks Masterclass

Monica Hogan Danceworks held a contemporary masterclass at Duke University on Saturday, April 19th in the Ark Studio. The class was led by Duke Dance alumnae Monica Hogan (T'12) and Courtney Liu (T'13).  Beginning with a warmup and some improvisation exercises, they finished off with some repertory movement from recent performances in NYC.  Location: Ark Dance Studio.  This masterclass was sponsored by the Duke Dance Program Backstage Events.

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Read the intro to "Black Performance Theory," edited by DeFrantz & Gonzalez, free on @Scribd.

Black Performance Theory, edited by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Anita Gonzalez

Published by Duke University Press

"Black performance theory is a rich interdisciplinary area of study and critical method. In this collection of new essays, some of its pioneering thinkers demonstrate the breadth and depth, innovation, and critical value of black performance theory."


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Senior Distinction Dance Projects Show Range of Academic Disciplines

Since Duke University began allowing distinction projects for seniors outside their majors, the Dance Program has seen an explosion of students combining their academic disciplines with their love of dance.  Trinity College approved the possibility of students graduating with distinction in a field outside their major about four years ago to recognize the fact that a number of students do develop a secondary interest sufficiently to be able to do distinguished work in that area, said Norman...

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Elizabeth Corbett Residency

Ballet forward: (re)thinking and (re)forming western classicism in dance, a new Duke University Dance Program initiative, presented the Elizabeth Corbett Residency – April 3-5. Titled "Forsythe Improvisation Technologies Workshop Series", Ms. Corbett led students in an...

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Spring Dance Concert Pays Tribute to Duke Graduate’s Musical Legacy

After what seems like the longest winter, this spring’s dance concert by the Duke Dance Program, “ChoreoLab 2014,” offers to “reset your clock” as well as pay tribute to a Duke graduate who passed away in 2007.
ChoreoLab 2014 will be performed Friday and Saturday, March 28 – 29, at 8 p.m. in the Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke’s West Campus.
Barbara Dickinson, Professor of the Practice of Dance, has choreographed a modern piece for 11...

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Urban Bush Women Residency, 1/26-2/8, 2014

The Dance Program was honored to have members of the Urban Bush Women dance company participate in a two-week residency from January 26 to February 8. Founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Paloma McGregor and Bennalldra Williams conducted two masterclasses for Duke Dance majors and minors in the Ark. They also invited students from Durham's Hillside High School to two Dance for Every Body workshops. Jawole was a guest artist in the dance composition class, Beyond Technique: Art of Performance,...

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Clay Taliaferro visits Art of Performance classes

On Friday, Feb. 21 and Monday, Feb. 24, students in the "Beyond Technique: Art of Performance" classes had the opportunity to work with Emeritus Professor Clay Taliaferro. Also an award-winning performer and choreographer, Clay generously spent time with Dance Program students. 

"My studio work (technique) or, as I prefer to call it, exploration of movement, continues to...

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Duke Students Bring Summer Dance Camp to China

Five Duke dance students spent this past summer in China, introducing into the country a new concept: summer dance camp. Their trip is the latest episode in a remarkable history of engagement between dancers from Duke and China. It’s a story that says a great deal about the passion, commitment, and entrepreneurial spirit of Duke’s dance community.


Hsiao-mei Ku

The incubator is the DukeEngage program in Zhuhai and its guiding spirit, Hsiao-mei Ku. For the past four...

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Duke at the ACDFA Conference in 2013

This year, Dance faculty Keval Kaur Khalsa and four dance students spent five days of their precious spring break at the ACDFA Southeast Regional Conference at the University of South Florida in Tampa, March 16-17, 2013. Keval introduced Kundalini Yoga & Meditation to approximately 75 students and faculty attendees in two workshops during the Conference. Some of the personal highlights for Prof. Khalsa were: participating in a Yin Yoga class with former Duke visiting faculty member...

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Dance Luminary Judith Jamison to be Honored at Commencement 2013

Amidst the highly choreographed pomp and ceremony of Duke University's Commencement this year, an honorary doctorate will be awarded to a true pioneer in choreography, Judith Jamison. For Duke's flourishing Dance Program, it will be an occasion to savor....

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