The Purpose Behind The University of Akron's Dance Program
As part of one of the major universities in the State of Ohio, The University of Akron's School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration Dance Program can offer students a unique opportunity of traditional technical training combined with an academic program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree, Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or a BFA with a musical theatre emphasis. These degrees prepare students for: performing; graduate studies in the fields related to dance such as arts management, dance history, physical therapy, dance therapy, dance education or dance ethnology; and teaching in private studios.
Whether the goal is to perform with a professional company, to teach the technical or academic aspects of the discipline or to continue intellectual pursuit in the art of dance, the dance program is superbly equipped to prepare students in both the physical and intellectual areas of the dance discipline.
A fifth year option for students in both degree programs is available in which the student may become certified to teach dance in public schools, grades K-12.
A further distinction of the program is the regular interaction of student dancers with professionals through the residency of the Ohio Ballet at The University of Akron.
Requirements and Educational Opportunities
The University of Akron's Dance Program offers the student a total educational experience to serve the dancer in the modern world. The broad range of course offerings of the University allows students to choose electives that assure them a relevant yet personalized education.
Admission to the dance program is by audition which places each student in the proper technique level, ensuring continuous progress. The program requires passing a sophomore jury after two years of dance major study to be admitted to upper division standing in the Dance Program. Students in the B.F.A. degree program are required to study ballet technique every semester and successfully complete two semesters of Ballet Technique VIII for graduation. Students in the B.A. degree program study a broader base of dance which includes ballet technique and modern, jazz dance and tap. A sample of additional courses for dance majors in the program include pointe, choreography, dance notation, physical analysis of dance, dance production, dance history and dance pedagogy.
Also available is a program for certification to teach dance in grades K-12 in the Ohio public schools.
Lucinda Lavelli, Director, holds a B.A. from Denison University, an M.F.A. and an M.N.O. (Master's of Nonprofit Organizations) from Case Western Reserve University and a C.M.A. (Certified Movement Analyst) from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She has been a leader in dance education for twenty years and is a frequent speaker on the topic. She has served on boards and committees of dance presenter and arts education organizations including the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Arts Council working on dance education guidelines, DANCECLEVELAND, the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and Young Audiences. In addition, she serves on committees for the National Association of Schools of Dance, Council of Dance Administrators, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Cleveland School of the Arts, and OhioDance.
Andrew Carroll, Assistant Professor, returns to The University of Akron after receiving a B.F.A. in Dance from the School in 1987. Mr. Carroll danced with The Ohio Ballet while earning his degree, performing in South America and Europe, as well as many U.S. cities. Upon graduation, Mr. Carroll joined Pennsylvania Ballet and danced there as a soloist until 1996. In the Pennsylvania Ballet, he worked with Lynn Taylor-Corbett, David Parsons, Margo Sappington, Paul Taylor and others. Mr. Carroll danced the leads in many Balanchine ballets including Serenade, The Four Temperaments, and Square Dance. He performed many classical roles including Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and The Sugar Plum Cavalier in Pennsylvania Ballet's annual Nutcracker. In 1992, Mr. Carroll was one of six dancers chosen to travel to China to represent Philadelphia as a cultural ambassador. He danced Balanchine's Agon pas de deux, and other selections.
Kathleen Davis, Assistant Professor, came to the University with an extensive dance background,including a full scholarship at Jacob's Pillow where she was coached by the "father" of modern dance, Ted Shawn. She trained with ballet teacher Margaret Craske, and at Washington State University with Ballet Russe ballerina Ruthanna Boris. She was one of the early pioneers in the regional ballet movement in this country. Mrs. Davis founded and directed the North Dakota Ballet and later performed with the Ohio Ballet. With her B.A. in Dance and M.S. in Education, she has been a prime mover in the new fifth year option of K-12 certification for dance educators seeking to teach in public schools in Ohio. She is currently involved in research on fitness and eating disorders in the dance population.
Genia Melikova, Visiting Assistant Professor was a ballerina with Le Grand Ballet International du Marquis de Quevas, The London Festival Ballet and Le Grand Ballet Classique de France. She has worked with Balanchine, Cranko, Massine, Nijinska, Tudor and Nureyev to name a few. More recently, she was the Artistic Director of Greater Bridgeport Ballet Company. She has been teaching for 20 years in schools in the United States, Europe and Asia including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Juilliard School, Helsinki Opera Ballet Company and School, Joffery Ballet, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and Hawaii University.
Marc Ozanich, Associate Professor, came to the University of Akron in 1973 after working in Europe and serving as a professor of dance at Florida State and Kent State Universities. With a B.A. in Art (sculpture) and an M.A. in Dance (choreography) from the University of California at Santa Barbara and Los Angeles respectively. He was a member of the Bloria Newman Company and a Fellow in dance at Bennington College. He has worked with such historic choreographers as Nijinska and Lifar and the contemporary Lynn Taylor-Corbett. Mr. Ozanich's career includes the creation of a number of landmark roles in the Ohio Ballet repertory and freelance work with modern, ballet, and opera companies. He has worked with Ohio Light Opera, Cleveland Opera, Weathervane Theatre, Opus II Dance Company and Cleveland Dancers Repertory Company where he also served as Artistic Director. He has won the coveted Ohio Arts Council Choreographic Fellowship and continues to do numerous choreographic commissions. Baroque dance is an area of special creative interest. He has been instrumental in supporting the dance community at large through his work as board member and president of OhioDance.
Heinz Poll, Artistic Director, Ohio Ballet, was born in Oberhausen, Germany, studied at the famed Folkwang School in Essen and began his professional career in 1946. His extensive career as a dancer, teacher and choreographer took him from Germany with the Municipal Theatre in Goettingen and the Berlin State Opera Ballet to the Ballet de Jeunesse Musicales de France and the National Ballet of Chile. In New York City he was one of the most sought-after teachers on the staff of the National Academy of Ballet. In the mid-1960s Mr. Poll was invited to teach in Akron, Ohio, which resulted in the formation of a small ensemble called the Chamber Ballet in 1968 -- which became Ohio Ballet in 1976. Mr. Poll's choreographic credits include works for Ohio Ballet, National Ballet of Chile, Ballet de la Jeunesse Musicales de France, Paris Festival Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, and solo dancer Ellen Kogan. In 1984 he was awarded a grant by the National Choreography Project to create a work for the Limon Dance Company and in 1995, he was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize.
Tom Smith, Assistant Professor, received his early training in Denver from Larry Boyette, graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in English Literature and holds an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of California at Irvine. Formerly with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Mr. Smith performed on many of the most notable stages of the world including Lincoln Center's State Theater, Paris Opera, Herode Atticus, Carnegie Hall and the State Theater of Berlin. He performed in the PBS Great Performance "Dance in America" series and shared the stage with such performers as Rudolph Nureyev, Peter Marins and soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet. He has worked for Donald McKayle, Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson's New Dance Theatre, and regionally in musical theatre. Mr. Smith has taught nationally and internationally at universities and professional schools, most recently in Hong Kong, China, and Denmark. He is also a faculty member of the School of Cleveland Ballet and Dance Institute of The University of Akron.
Part-Time Dance Faculty
The full-time faculty are complemented by part-time faculty drawn from the strong dance professional community in the Akron/Cleveland area. Some who have recently taught or are currently teaching for the school include:
MaryAnn Black, BFA Stephens College, and certified by A.C.E., A.F.A.A., and NDEITA, has performed on stage, television, commercials and summer stock. She teaches tap.
Lana Carroll, BA, was a leading dancer with Jennifer Muller/The Works Dance Company and Special Projects Director setting Muller ballets on major dance companies around the world. She performed with Pearl Lang Dance Company and the Ohio Ballet. She teaches majors modern for the school and serves as Head of the Dance Institute, the pre-professional dance program.
Colleen Clark, BFA, The Ohio State University, MFA, Case Western Reserve University, performed with companies including The Repertory Project, movement, music, and ..., Stepping Dance Theatre. Improvisation is of special interest to her. She teaches modern, jazz, and lecture courses.
Dennis Dugan, BGS, Ohio University, has worked as Technical Director and Lighting Designer with professional dance companies in New York and Ohio. He tours with the dance company Rhythm and Shoes and solo performer, Robert Post. He teaches Production Ensemble and Lighting Design.
Linda Ferrato, BA, The University of Akron, MFA The University of Michigan, has performed with three Ohio companies: Tom Evert Dance Company, Leaven Dance Company, and The Repertory Project. She teaches modern and choreography and is the director of Choreographers' Workshop.
James Robey, BFA, The University of Akron, has danced for Busch Gardens, Tokyo Disneyland, Disney World, Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Cleveland Opera, and Phenix Repertory Dance Theater. He teaches tap and jazz.
Luc Vanier, graduate of L'Ecole Superieur de Danse du Quebec, is a leading dancer with the Ohio Ballet, its Educational Coordinator and a regional choreographer. His training also includes work in France and Cuba and performing with the Ballet Nacionale de Cuba and the Festival Ballet of Rhode Island. He teaches majors ballet.
In 1975, the student dance company emerged as the Experimental Dance Ensemble and changed its name in 1986 to the Repertory Dance Company. Performances present dancers developing their dance technique, acting abilities, and stage presence in repertoire ranging from classical ballet to modern to jazz dance created especially for them by the dance faculty and guest choreographers. R.D.C. performs twice a year in one of several of the University's fine theatres.
These well-attended performances are complemented by off campus appearances at surrounding facilities by the Touring Ensemble. This select group of students tours Akron area elementary schools each spring with an original production. Touring Ensemble introduces thousands of students to dance each year.
A student's creativity, as well as practical knowledge of technique and choreography, are encouraged through participation in class projects and Choreographers' Workshop and Brown Bag Performances. Other performance outlets include productions mounted by the Schools of Music and Art, as well as performance opportunities with opera companies and regional theatres of Northeastern Ohio. Thus, there are numerous performance opportunities for the dance major to perfect his/her craft in front of a broad spectrum of the public and to find meaningful involvement through study and performance.
Guest Choreographers and Works Performed
The School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration introduces Dance majors to the atmosphere and heritage of classical, modern, jazz, and tap choreographers. Choreography for Repertory Dance Company is the combination of creations from the faculty and guest choreographers.
"La Bayadere," Excerpts "Paquita" "Black Swan" Pas de Deux "Pas de Quatre" "Corsaire" Excerpts "Peasant Pas de Deux" "Don Quixote" Grand Pas de Duex "Shakers" "Dying Swan "Sleeping Beauty," Excerpts "Giselle," Act I & Act II "Suite from a Choreographic Offering" "Graduation Ball" "Swan Lake," Act I & Act II "Les Sylphides" "Waterstudy" "Don Quixote" Grand Pas de Duex "Suite from a Choreographic Offering"
Rita Amer "A Courtly Entertainment" Art Bridgman/Myrna Packer "Crowd" Richard England "Grand Tarantelle" Debra Monlux "Isadora Duncan, A Tribute" Angene Feves, Reconstructor "Ballets des Nations" Rosalind Pierson "A Gift of Wings" Eugenia Schoettler "Encircled", "Three Duets" Lynn Taylor-Corbett "Full Moon" Carl Woltz "Aubade" Tim Wengerd "Goodyear Dyna Torque 18.4-38" "Don Quixote" Grand Pas de Duex "Suite from a Choreographic Offering"
Dance Program Faculty
- "Classical Symphony"
- "Raymonda Variations"
- "Turn In, Turn Out, Turn On"
- "Suite From Carmina Burana"
- "Liebeslieder Suite"
- "3/4 Time"
- "Paper Images"
- "Yellow Flowers, Green Grass"
- "A Series of Rapid
- "Lilith's Soul"
- "I" Movements"
- "Pan Demonium"
- "Cambiando Parejas"
- "Ladies Who Brunch"
The heart of the Dance Program beats in the Ballet Center, a late 19th century church that was renovated and is used exclusively for dance by The University Dance, the internationally acclaimed Ohio Ballet and the Dance Institute. The size of the facility enhances the program's ability to function effectively while creating a closely-knit community for the students. This closeness enables the student to establish roots an identity within the framework of a large urban university.
The student's training, guided by the scrutiny of the permanent faculty and guest instructors, proceeds within the Ballet Center's five studios and lecture room. In addition, the Ballet Center is equipped for the students' convenience and well-being by having four dressing rooms, a therapy room (complete with a Jacuzzi), a stage studio theatre and a multi-media lab with CD-ROM's for student use.
Where are Our Graduates?
Former students of the Dance Program at The University of Akron are currently appearing or have appeared with the New York City Ballet, Martha Graham Company, Jennifer Muller and the Works, Pennsylvania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Metropolitan, Cincinnati Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet, Jackson Ballet, Memphis Ballet, Irish Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Rebecca Kelly Company, Eathorne-Bahr Company, Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, the Frankfurt Opera Ballet, Ballet Met, Harbinger Dance Company, The Repertory Project as well as in musical shows on Broadway and Toronto, with Disney, and in Branson, Missouri.
They pursue active careers in all aspects of education such as private and public arts magnet schools from New York to Ohio to Florida; universities from California to Utah and back to Ohio.
They develop careers as choreographers, entrepreneurs, and business people and work in Canada, Asia, and around the U.S.
A degree in Dance is a preparation for a variety of careers.
Choreographers' Workshop, Student Concert
Faculty, Alumni, and Friends Scholarship Concert
Repertory Dance Company, Student Concert
Touring Ensemble, Local Student Tour
Angene Feves, Baroque Dance Residency
Art Bridgman/Myrna Packer, Modern Master Class
Tarin Chaplin, Composition Master Class
Dhananjayans, Indian Master Class
David Dorfman, Modern Master Class
Ko-Thi, African Master Class
Kenneth Laws, Dance Physics Master Class
Dennis Nahat, Artistic Director, Cleveland Ballet, Master Class
The Parsons Dance Company, Master Class
Monica Patton, Broadway dancer, Master Class
Heinz Poll, Art Director, Ohio Ballet, Master Class
Thiarra Sylla, African Master Class
Kevin Ware, ODC San Franscico, Master Class
American College Dance Festival, UA Dance Program Regional Tour
Ohio Ballet in Residence at The University of Akron, Concert, E.J. Thomas Series
STOMP, E.J. Thomas Series
The Ko-Thi Dance Company, E.J. Thomas Series
HUBBARD STREET DANCE, E.J. Thomas Series
INTO THE WOODS, Musical, Student Production
GODSPELL, Musical, Student Production
THE FANTASTICKS, Musical, Student Production
KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, Musical, E.J. Thomas Series
The Parsons Dance Company, E.J. Thomas Series
TOMMY, Musical, E.J. Thomas Series
© 1998 The University of Akron
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