Internationally known dancer, choreographer, and teacher danah bella will chair new Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance program.
Building on its long history of high-level training for dancers, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University will launch a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance program beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, pending approval of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. danah bella, the founder of d a n a h b e l l a DanceWorks and former chair of the dance faculty at Radford University, will lead the new department.
“The Peabody Conservatory Dance BFA is designed to prepare exceptional 21st century artists to push the boundaries between dance and science and expand the role and relevance of dance,” stated Abra Bush, Peabody’s senior associate dean of institute studies. “With her bold artistry and diverse experiences as a performer, choreographer, and teacher, we’re thrilled that danah bella has agreed to lead this innovative new program at Peabody.”
The dance program leverages the strengths of the Peabody Conservatory’s status as both a premier conservatory and a division of Johns Hopkins University, a world-class scientific, medical, and research institution. In addition to developing as performing artists, students will explore the interconnections between dance, music, science, and medicine, and will have opportunities to develop expertise in other areas including composition, citizen artistry, performing arts medicine, movement therapy, and non-traditional approaches to pedagogy.
The Dance BFA also builds on the strong foundation of one of the oldest continuously-operating dance training centers in the United States. Established in December 1914, Peabody Dance is currently run through the Peabody Preparatory, and offers high-quality, non-degree dance training for students of all levels, ages 3 through adult. Throughout its remarkable history, Peabody has pioneered new dance forms, mounted numerous collaborative projects, partnered with prominent figures in 20th and 21st century American dance, and produced accomplished professional dancers, choreographers, directors, and teachers.
danah bella is the artistic director of d a n a h b e l l a DanceWorks, a modern dance company focused on reclaiming evocative movement as social practice. bella has performed and presented her work throughout the country, including the Cool New York Festival, the United States Asian American Festival in San Francisco, the Bates Dance Festival in Maine, the American College Dance Association’s National Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center, Santa Barbara, and ReVIEWING Black Mountain College, as well as in Mexico and Italy. She has taught workshops and served as artist in residence for festivals and universities throughout the United States and abroad, including Pro Danza Italia, the Bates Dance Festival, Monterey Dance Fest, the American College Dance Association’s Regional and National conference, Western Michigan University, University of Virginia, Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival, Santa Barbara City College, and Goose Route Dance Festival. bella is also a founding member of Colectivo Caliban, an artist collective that transgresses disciplinary borders through sound and movement. She has an MFA in performance from The Ohio State University and a BA in dance from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and has worked in higher education since 2002 teaching modern dance technique, choreography, and dance theory.
“I am honored for the opportunity to join the Peabody Institute as it embarks on a new and exciting period of innovative initiatives that build on its storied legacy of artistic academic excellence,” said bella. “I’m thrilled to bring my passion for dance and penchant for student-centered dance pedagogy to shape this groundbreaking new program that will prepare students to be globally engaged citizen artists.”
The development of the Dance BFA is a component of the Peabody Institute’s Breakthrough Plan, which builds on Peabody’s historical strengths with new initiatives and programs designed to meet the needs of the 21st century. These include the recently-announced Music for New Media program, scheduled to enroll its first students in the 2018-19 academic year, and the new Breakthrough Curriculum in Music Leadership, a model at the forefront of arts training in the United States, which launches this fall.
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