Department and Alumni News

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.

Department Highlights

Daunte Borner photo
Daunte Borner (right).
  • 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>>
  • Choreography by TWU professor Matthew Henley and a group of students was featured at the Orchesis Dance Company’s 49th annual concert, Tabula Rasa, Jan. 18-19.
  • 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.
  • Several TWU-associated companies will be performing in this weekend's Dallas Dances Concert, including kNOwBOX dance and the Jordan Fuchs Company.

  • In July, the Jordan Fuchs Dance Company performed at the Barnstorm Dance Fest in Houston.

  • Co-director of the Big Rig Dance Collective and TWU graduate Amanda Jackson presented her commissioned choreography for the Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival on July 27-28.

  • The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago announced the appointment of TWU alumna Ellen Chenoweth as the permanent Director of its Dance Presenting Series and a new faculty member of the Department of Dance.

  • TWU Dance invites you to celebrate the life of Dr. Linda Caldwell 6 p.m. May 16 at the Little Chapel in the Woods
  • TWU alumnus Terrance M. Johnson was profiled in the recent Dallas Observer article, "Terrance M. Johnson Dance Project Is More Than Just Dancing". The project's mission is to support historically oppressed communities through the art of dance.
  • The TWU dance ensemble will co-headline the Greater Denton Arts Council's Everywoman Celebration on Friday, March 23. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center and features jazz vocalists Gwynne Johnson and Cassandra Berry, poet Linda Hernandez, and the premiere of "Living Art - Jo Williams, Seeing the World with an Artist's Eye", which was produced by filmmaker Susan Davis. TWU and the GDAC invites community members to experience the artistry and entrepreneurship of Denton women in celebration of Women’s History Month. Light refreshments and hors-d'oeuvres will be served, and admission is $5.
  • Associate professor Sarah Gamblin is a member of the “dream team” of dancers performing with the famous contemporary dance choreographer Bebe Miller Feb. 21-24 in New York City at New York Live Arts. The performance is double-billed with the renowned choreographer/performer Susan Rethorst. The New York Times previewed the Miller & Rethorst dance event as one of the "5 Dance Performances to see in NYC this Weekend" and featured it again in "Getting Into the Room With 2 Choreographers."
  • MFA candidate Daunte Borner will perform at the 35th Annual EmmyAward-Winner Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert "A Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." The television program will air on CBS -TXA 21 on February 24th at 7:00 pm. He performs in four dance pieces titled:
    • Poor Wayfaring Stranger  (Duet)
    • Soldier On
    • Armor of God
    • Battle Hymn (Finale dance)  
  • Memorial services for Cornaro Professor of Dance Dr. Jane A. Mott (August 28, 1919 - January 27, 2018) will be held on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at Mulkey-Bowles Montgomery Chapel. Visit Dr. Mott's obituary page for service details and directions.
  • Associate professor Jordan Fuchs presented a guest lecture on the subject of contact improvisation and its use in choreography for stage and screen Nov. 17 at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England.
  • Assistant professor Matthew Henley has been recognized at the Fellow level by the TWU Center for Faculty Excellence. CFE has collaborated with the academy to prepare a core group of TWU faculty to apply for fellowships. Fellows must demonstrate their commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience via a rigorous process that encourages research, reflection and the desire for continuous professional development.

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.

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.

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.

Elisa De La Rosa headshot

TWU alumna Elisa De La Rosa named teacher of the year


Elisa De La Rosa, the 2018 Teacher of the Year at MacArthur Ninth Grade School in Aldine ISD, is one of four finalists for the district’s Teacher of the Year honors. De La Rosa was honored for her hard work and dedication at an awards ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency North Houston. She earned a bachelor’s degree in dance in 2006 from Texas Woman’s University.

TWU Dance honored at Regional American College Dance Association event

Fifteen Texas Woman's University dance students and one faculty member attended the 2018 Regional American College Dance Association event. TWU and the Department of Dance were honored when a TWU dance, "Helena", choreographed by second-year MFA graduate student Reyna Mondragon was selected for the Gala Concert on Saturday night. This dance also was chosen as the #1 Alternate for the ACDA National College Dance Festival and received glowing reviews from the adjudicators, who stated that "the specificity of the choreographic investigation led to an idiosyncratic trio. The embodiment of the three dancers fully realized the complexity of the Meredith Monk score.” 

Texas Woman’s emeritus professor receives lifetime achievement award

Gladys M. Keeton, professor emeritus at Texas Woman's University

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) has announced Gladys M. Keeton, professor emeritus at Texas Woman's University, received its award for Lifetime Achievement in Texas on Nov. 14 at the 2017 NDEO National Conference in San Antonio.

Keeton teaches a variety of dance genres, theory and pedagogy. Since 1978, she has been the artistic director and performer with the TWU international Folk Dance Company. She is a presenter for CEDFA Fine Arts Summits and conducts in-service and staff development for teachers in public schools throughout Texas.

Throughout her career she has been recognized with the TWU Distinction in Service and Outstanding Academic Advisor awards, Outstanding Young Women of America award, the TAHPERD Brace award, Dance Heritage, Outstanding University Educator, Honor, and PEPI awards, Southern District AAHPERD Outstanding University Dance Educator Award, the Texas Dance Educator Association Hall of Fame award, Drill Team Directors of America Lifetime award and the Arc Outstanding Service Award.

TWU Dance alumna awarded 2017 Bessie for outstanding performance

TWU Dance alumna Kayla Hamilton (B.A., 2006) is a co-recipient of this year's coveted Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance. Hamilton is a member of the winning ensemble, the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds. The award recognizes "a history-in-the-making performance that dismantled improvisational dance norms to create a robust, disruptive, and dynamic world. For a cast of individuals who used a full range of movement styles to take the audience from Dakar to Kingston, the Bronx to Bushwick, in a fluid dance of connection."

TWU Dance alumna receives AAUW Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship

Candice Salyers dancing in red dress

Candice Salyers (Ph.D. ‘14), an alumna of the Texas Woman’s University Department of Dance, has received a Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The goal of the $30,000 fellowship is to help women obtain tenure and further promotions by providing a year to focus on independent research.

Texas Woman’s doctoral candidate nominated for national Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award

Texas Woman’s University doctoral candidate Lela Aisha Jones was named as one of four nominees for this year’s prestigious Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Award. The winner will be announced at the 33rd Annual NY Dance and Performance Bessie Awards cocktail party and press conference Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in New York City.

Yeajean Choi, master of fine arts student in the TWU Department of Dance.
Yeajean Choi, master of fine arts student in the TWU Department of Dance. Photo by Visionstyler Press.

TWU dance student selected for 2017 International Young Choreographer Project

Photo of Yeajean Choi dancing and sprinkling sand.

Yeajean Choi, a master of fine arts student in the Department of Dance at Texas Woman’s University, is one of eight choreographers and the only U.S. student to be chosen for the World Dance Alliance's prestigious 2017 International Young Choreographer Project. Choi will travel to Kaohsiung, Taiwan this July to participate in the project’s three-week residency program.

The arts come ‘full circle’ at TWU ArtsWalk March 30

Yeajean Choi, master of fine arts student in the TWU Department of Dance.

The Texas Woman’s University School of the Arts invites area residents to join students, faculty, staff and a special guest artist for ArtsWalk: Revolutions. Event participants will explore new perspectives in adaptive spaces by taking a walk around Pioneer Circle on TWU’s Denton campus from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 30.

TWU Alumna Turns Dancing Dream into Studio Ownership Reality

“Training bodies intelligently,” sums up the teaching philosophy of Carissa Laitinan-Kniss (BFA '03), co-owner of Twisted Bodies, a Pilates and yoga studio in Denton. 

Doctoral Cohort News

Student wearing purple costume in seated pose with arms outstretched
Photos by Jesse Scroggins.

We are proud to announce the new doctoral cohortThis year, we welcome accomplished scholars and professionals from around the globe and look forward to the innovative research contributions these Ph.D. candidates will bring to the field of dance.

For up-to-date news on our concerts and guest artists, please visit our Events and Performances page.

Page last updated 3:12 PM, September 4, 2019