Department and Alumni News

TWU Dance alumna named 2020-2022 Phi Kappa Phi Artist

Lisa A. Fusillo, professor of dance in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society—as the 2020-2022 Phi Kappa Phi Artist. Fusillo received her doctorate from Texas Woman’s University in 1982.

Alumna Kayla Hamilton discusses disability in dance

"I’m interested in asking questions about surveillance and how it strips and heightens our identities, especially in the context of Blackness, genders and disability," said Kayla Hamilton, an artist, producer and educator originally from Texarkana, TX and now residing in Bronx, NY. Kayla earned a BA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and an MS Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. She is a member of the 2017 Bessie-award winning cast of Skeleton Architecture.

TWU alumna named dean of Texas Tech visual and performing arts college

Genevieve Durham DeCesaro was named dean of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts at Texas Tech University. She has been serving as vice provost for academic affairs and is a professor of dance at the university. Professor Durham DeCesaro earned a master’s degree and a master of fine arts degree from Texas Woman’s University.

Department Highlights

  • Ph.D. program alumna Wanda Ebright was interviewed about her new book, Dance on the Historically Black College Campus. Ebright is the associate dean, director of graduate studies, and associate professor of dance at Winthrop University.
  • Addie Tsai was interviewed by We Need Diverse Books in advance of her forthcoming young adult novel Dear Twin (available November 2019). Tsai earned her Ph.D. in Dance at TWU and currently serves as a writer and editor for multiple publications while teaching courses in literature, creative writing, dance and humanities at Houston Community College.
  • TWU Dance alumna and 2019-20 Fresh Tracks Artist Kayla Hamilton will present work in the New York Live Arts Theater, December 13-14, 2019. Hamilton's work focuses on collaboration with other artists from various disciplines to explore the intersection of race and disability. 
  • Doctoral candidate Iquail Shaheed and his dance company, Dance Iquail, presented Black Swan Feb. 22-23 in Philadelphia. Shaheed has been hailed as “a perfect example of his generation of male dancers… Technically superb and artistically infallible.” Read more>>
  • The Dance Council of North Texas posthumously honored TWU Dance alumnus Darrell Cleveland (MA '15) with the Larry White Excellence in Dance Education Award.
  • Julie Mulvihill is now a visiting assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University. She holds a Ph.D. in dance theory and practice from TWU, and her most recent article, COLLABORATION: An Activity of Responsible Citizenship, which will appear in the September 2018 issue of Journal of Dance Education.
  • TWU alumna Alex Cole has turned the backyard of her Denton home into the Little D Performance Platform. The space will give priority to dancers and dance companies.
  • Dance scholar and TWU alumna Vanessa Cheung will host seven contemporary dance lectures and workshops in Hong Kong, organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, from September to November.

TWU dance senior Greyson von Trapp creatively adapts to new COVID-19 limitations

TWU dance senior Greyson von Trapp said the instructors for his dance technique classes now upload videos of themselves demonstrating a phrase — a short piece of choreography — for the class to view. Students learn the phrase and then upload a video of themselves performing it.

TWU Dance presents virtual dance concert ‘1200 Seconds’ April 24

The Texas Woman’s University Department of Dance is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by presenting its first virtual dance concert, “1200 Seconds.” The online event will feature 20 60-second dance solos in a digital video streaming format on Facebook Watch and Instagram TV Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m. 

TWU dance alumni and kNOwBOX co-founders launch podcast, present film festival

Martheya Nygaard and YeaJean Choi, former classmates in the dance program at Texas Woman’s University, founded kNOwBOX last year when they weren’t sure where their respective careers would take them and wanted to keep collaborating. Using film, video and social media, they want to help dance artists transcend geography and expand their imaginations. Lovers of dance can glimpse kNOwBOX’s dream of the future in Oak Cliff Dec. 13-15. 

TWU dance alumna Hillary Clark coaches Coppell High School drill team

“All of my experiences bring different things to the table to allow me to run the Silver Stars to the best they can be,” Hillary Clark said. “Rangerettes brings discipline, high school team brings familiarity to what we are doing and TWU helped a lot with understanding the body and how it works.”

Dance Teacher Magazine: TWU's Matthew Henley has a new approach to grading in K-12

Looking back on his early dance education, Matthew Henley, an assistant professor at Texas Woman's University in Denton, remembers the grading process as being rather "opaque." "Any assessments seemed to be verbal, informal and casual. Most everyone got A's," he says.

Alumna Alexandra Bevavides forms Texas Rangers dance team


Alexandra Benavides has formed a dance team for Texas Live!, an Arlington entertainment venue and eatery, that will be right next to the new $1.1 billion Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers. The team will dance during game days, tailgate events, concerts and meets and greets with ballplayers. Benavides earned her bachelor's degree in dance at Texas Woman's University and recently competed in World of Dance with her Filipino crew, Lot 49.


TWU alumna Emily Robison named Aledo ISD Dance Director

Emily Robison is ready to share her passion and rebuild the Aledo ISD dance program. “I would like Aledo dance to continue to grow, I would like it to be from high school all the way down to elementary. That’s my big over time goal,” Robison said. “I am starting a dance team as well. I know they have had a team/club before and so I am wanting to build that into more of a dance team, pom squad feel, so more of a collegiate look, but not necessarily a drill team.” After earning her associate's degree, Robison transferred to Texas Woman's University where she earned her B.A. in dance with a teaching certificate.

TWU dance alumna Kihyoung Choi's students learn through service

Tarrant County College Northeast Professor of Dance Kihyoung Choi is a master of technique. A former dancer with the Korean National Ballet who went on to earn her doctorate at Texas Woman’s University, Choi expertly instructs her students in ballet, modern dance and traditional Korean dance. But the most important lesson she imparts to her students is that of serving others.

Women Who Lead: Asiyah Martin (BA ‘18)

Asiyah Martin always loved the art of storytelling, first through dance and later through video production. From creating her own videos to directing larger local projects, Martin is carving a path into the film industry.

After many inspirational women in her life, including her mother, attended Texas Woman’s, Martin discovered the university’s unique dance program. A few short years later, Martin graduated from TWU with an undergraduate degree in dance.


Assistant professor Ilana Morgan empowers students with dance at a juvenile detention center

When Ilana Morgan earned her Ph.D. from Texas Woman's University in 2015, she was eager to serve her community of Denton, Texas. She crossed paths with the Denton County Juvenile Detention Center high school principal Anthony Sims and proposed to bring dance to the school's detained youth. After a year and half of planning, that interest became reality.

Doctoral student Anisha Rajesh profiled by Voyage Houston

TWU Dance doctoral student and Upasana Kalakendra artistic director Anisha Rajesh was recently profiled by Voyage Houston. From the article: 

"In 2012, I joined the Ph.D. program in dance at Texas Woman’s University with a research focus on an Indian classical dance called Mohiniyattam. The research program at TWU had a huge influence on me as a dancer and dance educator as the program equipped me to engage kids as well as adults from diverse and multicultural backgrounds to explore the movement vocabulary of Indian classical dance."

TWU Community Dance Center offers affordable, supportive environment for lifelong education

The TWU Community Dance Center was established more than 50 years ago. Today, Ilana Morgan, Ph.D., director of the center and assistant professor of dance, works to provide high quality and low-cost dance education to the Denton community. “We believe everyone can dance and our teaching philosophy reflects this commitment. Our students learn to dance from a holistic perspective, problem solving as they collaborate with others.”

Rosemary Candelario, PhD, awarded DSA Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research

Rosemary Candelario, Ph.D., associate professor of dance and author of Flowers Cracking Concrete: Eiko & Koma’s Asian/American Choreographies, has been awarded the Dance Studies Association (DSA) Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research. Candelario will be honored at the 2019 DSA annual conference award ceremony, hosted at Northwestern University Aug. 8-11, 2019.

Retired TWU Dance professor to receive posthumous Texas Dance Heritage Award

Dr. Janice LaPointe-Crump, retired professor of Dance at Texas Woman’s University, will be receiving a posthumous Texas Dance Heritage Award from the  Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. The awards dinner will take place Nov. 30 during the association's 95th Annual Convention in Galveston, Texas.

Love at First Click: Flash mob of TWU dancers help local man propose

Michelle Henderson’s boyfriend of two years proposed to her Friday evening, but she wasn’t sure what was happening — at least not at first.

She didn’t know what was about to happen as the couple approached the Courthouse on the Square; she didn’t know what was happening as a friend of theirs began to play Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” on a portable speaker; nor did she understand what was going on when a six-person squad of dancers from Texas Woman’s University burst into a flash mob. 

Rosemary Candelario, Ph.D., publishes Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance

Originating in Japan in the 1960s, butoh was a major innovation in twentieth-century dance and performance, and it continues to shape-shift around the world. Taking inspiration from the Japanese avant-garde, Surrealism, Happenings, and authors such as Genet and Artaud, its influence can be seen throughout contemporary performing arts, music, and visual art practices.

Associate professor Rosemary Candelario's Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance places the form in historical context, documents its development in Japan and its spread around the world, and brings together the theory and the practice of this compelling dance. The interdisciplinarity evident in the volume reflects the depth and the breadth of butoh, and the editors bring specially commissioned essays by leading scholars and dancers together with translations of important early texts.

Big Rig Dance Collective and Jordan Fuchs featured in Dallas News' '9 can't miss performances' feature

Big Rig Dance Collective is a company made up of TWU MFA alumni Crysta Caulkins-Clouse, Whitney Geldon, Amanda Jackson and Lily Sloan. The Denton group will present You Are Not My Enemy at the Dallas Dances festival, choreographed and performed by co-founders Caulkins-Clouse and Sloan, who will largely improvise the movement to an original musical composition by Brittany Padilla. 

TWU dance professor Jordan Fuchs brings his own experimental bent to Dallas Dances with an excerpt from Torsion, whose movement focuses on the pelvis and the connective tissue called the fascia. Fuchs based the work for three dancers on improvisations he filmed and then re-created for the stage.

Professor Matthew Henley's research featured in Dance Magazine

Matthew Henley, Ph.D., a professor at Texas Woman's University, is gathering data to advocate for the value of dance as an intellectual practice—and build a framework for how to describe dance intelligence to non-dancers.

"One of the things we dancers often say is, 'Oh, she's such a smart mover,' " says Henley, himself a former dancer with Seán Curran and Randy James. While a non-dancer might assume that "smart mover" just has great physical ability, dancers can see that she's coordinating her body really efficiently, or processing the movement very clearly, or translating the phrase into her body in creative ways.

TWU alumni YeaJean Choi and Martheya Nygaard's kNOwBOX dance company featured in TheatreJones

Choi and Nygaard met while earning their MFAs in dance at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Their overlapping interest in making art that challenged contemporary and modern dance aesthetics lead them to becoming fast friends and dance peers. Choi was working as the dance department’s digital media coordinator and Nygaard as the department’s publicity coordinator when the duo starting brainstorming about what they were going to do after graduation. They came up with the question: how can artists have access to stay connected, make new work and share work globally, and from there kNOwBOX was born.

Page last updated 5:08 PM, August 27, 2020