Duke Dance Program Announces New Faculty Appointment

Iyun Harrison headshot

The Dance Program at Duke University is proud to welcome Iyun Ashani Harrison as an associate professor for the ballet practice. He will also serve as director for undergraduate studies.

A graduate of The Julliard School, Harrison received his M.F.A. from Hollins University in Virginia and is a doctoral candidate in education at Marymount University. He is the founder and executive director of Ballet Ashani and has performed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Ailey II, and the Seattle Dance Project. His choreography has been commissioned by numerous organizations including the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Ailey School, and Boston Conservatory.

“We are excited to renew the exploration of ballet as part of our multi-faceted curriculum and to welcome the dynamic energy and inclusive perspective Professor Harrison brings,” says Andrea E. Woods Valdés, Director of the Dance Program. 

Harrison has held several academic positions, including professorships with the Cornish College of the Arts, Goucher College, and Webster University, and has taught on the faculties of the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The Ailey School, Peabody Conservatory, and Maryland Youth Ballet.

For Harrison, the Duke Dance Program presents a unique opportunity to modernize and democratize ballet leadership and pedagogy, while maintaining existing standards of excellence in the practice.

"My vision is for ballet at Duke to welcome beginning students, and offer rigorous training and artistic and leadership opportunities for advanced dancers,” he explains. “Further, I hope to foster a culture that is inclusive, employing progressive ballet leadership practices to facilitate the development of innovative practitioners and theorists who can effect positive change in ballet organizations.”