New American Vernacular Dance Major at Davis & Elkins College

25 Jun

I have been given the unspeakably good fortune of being invited to Davis & Elkins College, in beautiful Elkins, WV, home of our beloved Augusta Heritage Center, in order to start a dance major.


photo by Matthew Olwell

I’m an Assistant Professor in Dance under the umbrella of the Fine and Performing Arts, and so far everyone I’ve worked with at D&E has been exceptionally clear, helpful, and generous.

I would like to use this opportunity to develop a new, unique dance program, offering the county’s first major in American Vernacular Dance, a curricular idea we’re also we’re developing during Augusta’s Week 5.  In the college program, students should be able to pursue a dance focus in any number of genres, though project-based curriculum and self-directed study with faculty supervision.

I also want to offer a Sustainable Dance track for dancers who don’t necessarily want to become professional dancers as their primary vocation, but want to maintain an involvement in dance as a healthy, life-long movement practice.  This track would work well as a double major paired with other studies.

There will also be a Contemporary Dance track, and my colleague Laurie Goux at Davis & Elkins has studied with Katherine Dunham, Eric Hawkins, and many other significant modern dancers throughout her long and distinguished career.

After all the complaining I’ve done about the modern/postmodern dance monopoly on dance programs in higher education, I better put my money where my mouth is . . .  Here I go!

2 Responses to “New American Vernacular Dance Major at Davis & Elkins College”

  1. Miriam Phillips June 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Ok Em. We’ll be watching! Great going!! Miriam (currently in Spain)

  2. shanna lim June 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm #



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