Division and Alumni News

Alumna Julia M. Ritter (PhD '16) is named a Douglass Faculty Fellow

Ph.D. Alumni Julia Ritter has been named a Douglass Faculty Fellow for spring 2022. Douglass Residential College at Rutgers is the only residential women's college in the nation that is housed within a leading national public research university.

Alumna Julia M. Ritter (PhD '16) receives Rutgers Presidential Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award

TWU dance alumna Julia M. Ritter (Ph.D. '16) recently received a Presidential Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award. Ritter is a professor of dance at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The award honors newly-promoted members of the faculty whose breadth of academic portfolios reflect outstanding research, scholarship or creative work, as well as truly outstanding contributions to teaching along with extensive service to the Rutgers community and beyond.

TWU dance alumna Wanda K.W. Ebright (PhD '17) named Columbus State University dean

Columbus State University has appointed Dr. Wanda K. W. Ebright as its next dean of the College of the Arts. Ebright will begin her tenure at Columbus State on Tuesday, Feb. 15. She holds a Ph.D. in dance from Texas Woman’s University and is the author of D"ance on the Historically Black College Campus: The Familiar and the Foreign."

Alumna Lily Sloan (MFA '10) shares what she gained from earning her MFA in Dance

"At TWU there is a strong foundation in feminist pedagogy, both in how many of the professors work and create curriculum and in the pedagogical theory that we were learning," TWU alumna Lily Sloan (MFA '10) said in an interview with Dance Teacher Magazine. "I feel like my eyes were opened to creating classroom environments that were more about setting up a framework for students to learn—being a facilitator rather than having a top-down instructional perspective." Sloan currently serves as co-artistic director of Big Rig Dance Collective as well as a Dallas/Fort Worth-based adjunct professor, performer and choreographer.

TWU Dance presents Jordan Fuchs Company Sept. 10-11

The Texas Woman’s University Division of Dance presents the Jordan Fuchs Company in a concert of premieres for the stage and screen Sept. 10-11. Fuchs, a professor of dance at TWU, is joined by a cast of students and alumni for an event two years in the making.

TWU presents virtual dance concert 'Through the Lens'

The Texas Woman’s University Department of Dance will present its spring virtual dance concert, “Through the Lens,” on YouTube at 7 p.m. April 23. The livestream event will feature faculty- and student-created screen dances and original sound scores. The event also will incorporate diverse cultural perspectives, an array of performance environments and entertaining explorations of the human condition in the age of COVID-19.

National Endowment for the Humanities awards grant to TWU faculty

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that it awarded a Humanities Connections Grant of $99,426 to Texas Woman’s University. The grant will support the very first interdisciplinary and experiential learning initiative to integrate the history of Quakertown into courses at TWU. It will also enable the future development of a digital humanities archive of Quakertown-related research and reflection, which the project co-directors aim to connect to a public platform that will promote community engagement with Quakertown’s history for decades to come.

2021 Denton Black Film Festival announces new screendance category

Every year one of the only black film festivals in the United States occurs in Denton, Texas. The Denton Black Film Festival ( DBFF), created by Harry and Linda Eaddy, promotes films by prestigious Black filmmakers and films about Black lives and experiences. This year, Mary Williford-Shade, MFA, CMA, professor and chair of the TWU Department of Dance, is incorporating the new medium of screendance into the festival.

Dance alumna Amy Funderburk Tidwell named Corsicana Main Street Program Director

TWU dance alumna Amy Funderburk Tidwell has taken the reins as Corsicana’s Main Street Program Director. Designated an official Texas Main Street City in 1985, Corsicana’s Main Street Program supports downtown revitalization through a focus on historic preservation and economic development, in order to boost the quality of life for residents and tourists alike. In 2012, Funderburk Tidwell was named team director of the Corsicana High School Calico Dance Team.

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 about Dance Iquail>>
  • 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.

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.”

Page last updated 10:58 AM, March 25, 2022