Over the years, the faculty of the School of Dance has trained thousands of versatile dancers who fill the ranks of dance companies worldwide. The faculty of distinguished dance professionals works individually and collectively with students to provide a strong technical foundation and a total dance environment of performance experience and creative opportunities. Dance students receive personal advice and attention from their instructors; much of the class work is one-on-one. Members of the highly qualified faculty choreograph, stage works and assist guest artists in preparing students for more than 40 performances a year. This sharing of the creative process, combined with the best in traditional and contemporary training, represents a strong commitment to the development of students’ artistic and personal growth.
Brenda Daniels, Associate Dean (1995)
Brenda Daniels holds the Betsy Friday Distinguished Professorship in Contemporary Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She joined the faculty at UNCSA in 1995, became the Assistant Dean for Contemporary Dance in 2004, Interim Dean in 2011, and Associate Dean in 2012. She received the UNCSA Teaching Excellence Award in 1999 and again in 2008. Ms. Daniels is also on the summer faculty of the American Dance Festival. She was artistic director of her own company, Brenda Daniels Dance Company, from 1985-1995. The company presented annual seasons in New York, and toured in the United States and Europe. Ms. Daniels is a recipient of choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her choreography has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, The Joyce Theater, St. Mark’s Church, and theatres throughout Germany and the Netherlands. Performance credits include Ton Simons and Dancers, Mel Wong, Ellen Cornfield, Shelley Lee, Douglas Dunn, William Douglas, Bill Young, and the Palindrome Dance Company. Teaching credits include the Merce Cunningham Studio (1985-1995), Purchase College, Hollins University, UNC-Greensboro, Wake Forest University, Harvard Summer Dance Center, Cornish College, Texas Christian University, Stephens College, Sam Houston State University, Connecticut College, California State University at Long Beach, Vassar, Brigham Young, and the Rotterdam Dance Academy. Brenda Daniels has earned a B.F.A. in Dance from Purchase College and an M.F.A. in Dance from Hollins University.
“Brenda Daniels / Modern mastery at University of North Carolina School of the Arts,” in “Architects of the Body and Soul / Teaching Modern Dance in College”
Dance Teacher, September 2010 issue
Reprinted with permission from Dance Teacher.
Sean Sullivan, Assistant Dean, Contemporary (1998)
Sean Sullivan has been a faculty member of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Contemporary Dance Program since 1998. A former dancer with the Limón Dance Company from 1991 – 1996, Sean continues to serve the Limón Institute as a teacher and reconstructor of Limón repertory. For the UNCSA School of Dance, he has staged and directed José Limón’s masterworks The Unsung, A Choreographic Offering, and Concerto Grosso, and has choreographed 10 of his own dances. He has twice received the UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2010 received a UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. Sean has been an active participant in UNCSA’s shared governance as a member of the Faculty Council for 6 years, and as the Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee for 4 years. For the North Carolina community, Sean has served the North Carolina Arts Council as a dance panelist and site evaluator. He was a board member and vice-president of the North Carolina Dance Alliance for 4 years. Sean holds a BFA from California State University at Long Beach, and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He has been married to his beautiful wife B.J. since 1995. Together they have a lovely 4-year-old daughter named Lennon.
Trish Casey, Contemporary (1989)
A graduate of (University of) North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA) and New York University/Tisch School of the Arts (MFA). She danced with the companies of Pauline Koner, Don Redlich and Marcia Plevin. Her teaching credits span universities, conservatories, companies and dance organizations in the United States and Australia. She has directed creativity-based workshops for dance educators, choreographers and professional dancers in New Mexico, Texas and North Carolina. Special projects include “A Dance Gathering” in Dallas, Texas, which continues to serve as an annual event, hosting professionals’ work from around the country and most recently “Thinking, Making, Doing Together” , a choreographic intensive for dance artists in collaboration with members of the Bill T./Arnie Zane Dance Company. Surrendering in a Champion’s World, a dance film, choreographed and co-directed by Ms. Casey, received an award at the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2003 and was an entry in the 2004 Santa Fe Film Festival. In 1997 and 2005, Ms. Casey was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at UNCSA. In May of 2005, she was the recipient of the distinguished UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. She has studied Body-Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Ideo-kinesis with Andre Bernard and continued professional development in the area of Neuromuscular Anatomy with Irene Dowd. She is currently working on certification in Healing Touch.
Fanchon Cordell, Ballet (1983)
Fanchon Cordell grew up in North Palm Beach, Fla., where she studied under Joan Miller. At the age of 18, she moved to New York City, where she received a full traineeship at Harkness Ballet and studied under David Howard and Maria Vegh. She began her professional career with Ballet Repertory Company and Eglevsky Ballet. As a member of American Ballet Theatre, she performed soloist roles in such ballets as Swan Lake, Giselle and Concerto and has worked with choreographers Balanchine, Baryshnikov, de Mille, Tetley, Tudor, and Tharp. Ms. Cordell has received an UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Wake Forest University.
Nina Danilova, Ballet (1996)
Graduate of the Vaganova Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. Performed with both the Kirov Ballet and the Moscow Ballet. Doctoral candidate at the State Institute of Theatrical Arts, specializing in choreography, 1988-90. From 1991-96, faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Wash.
Carolyn Fay, Dance Costume Director (1978)
Born in Washington, DC, and growing up mostly in Japan and the DC area,
Carolyn Fay is a graduate of the College of Charleston (BA) and Northwestern University (MA). She worked as a guest lecturer in Theatrical Design and Dramatic Literature at Ateneo de Manila University, the University of the Philippines, and the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Before coming to UNCSA, she designed costumes for University of Illinois (Chicago Circle Campus), University of Western Ontario, and Wake Forest University. In addition to the School of Dance, her dance costume design history includes Ballet Spartanburg, SUNY Purchase, Duke University, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Schrader Youth Ballet, and Carolina Ballet. Among the more than 50 pieces she has designed for UNCSA are Rituals (Noble), Cowgirls (Markham), Les Patineurs (Cordell/Smith), Donizetti Variations and Allegro Brilliante (Hayden), Water Paper (Alonzo King), Swan Lake, Acts II & III (Conover/Gawriljuk/ McCullough), Sleeping Beauty, Act III (Conover), and Chaconne and Grand Partita (Daniels).
Dayna Fox, Ballet (2008)
From 1977 through 1985, Dayna Fox was a featured dancer with the North Carolina Dance Theater, having performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe including appearances at The Kennedy Center; Brooklyn Academy of Music; the American Dance Festival; the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C.; and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. During her tenure, Ms. Fox performed soloist and principal roles in an eclectic repertoire including such works as Aiello’s Piano Concerto #1; Balanchine’s Pas de Dix, Allegro Brilliant, and Scotch Symphony; Bournonville’s Napoli; Driver’s Resettings; and Nebrada’s Pentimento. Ms. Fox holds a BFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and currently serves as the director of the School of Dance’s Preparatory Program, a position she has held since 1989.
Laura Martin, Ballet (2010)
Laura Martin was trained primarily at The Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Day, with summer training at The Joffrey School, and The Chautauqua Institute. She went on to join The Washington Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, where she danced the works of choreographers such as Balanchine, Tudor, DeMille, Tharp, Taylor, and Graham, as well as most of the classical ballets. Following ABT, she was invited to join the Broadway cast of the Phantom of the Opera. She has taught at many studios around the country, including Princeton Dance and Theater Studio, Ballet Academy East, The Washington School of Ballet, Piedmont School of Music and Dance, and most recently, has served as guest faculty at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts for the past two years. In addition to teaching ballet she is a certified yoga teacher at the 200-hour level.
Susan McCullough, Ballet (1988)
Graduate of (University of) North Carolina School of the Arts, 1969. Dean of the (U)NCSA School of Dance, 1988-2007. Director, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, 1986-1988. Ballet mistress, Nederlands Dans Theatre, 1980-84. Dancer, Nederlands Dans Theatre, 1975-84; Harkness Ballet, 1971-75. Founding member, North Carolina Dance Theatre, 1970. Guest teacher/ choreographer for Joffrey Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet du Nord, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Recipient of Pennsylvania Arts Council Choreographers Grant, 1987.
Eric Schwartz, Music Director (2011)
Eric Schwartz has studied composition and piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, New York University, and both the Interlochen and Aspen summer music festivals. His music has been performed on five continents, at venues ranging from Merkin Concert Hall in New York City and the BMW Edge Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, to universities, coffee shops, gas stations, and bars of all shapes and sizes. He has received awards and grants from Meet the Composer, ASCAP, The Society for New Music, The Puffin Foundation, The Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and The Ohio Federation of College Music Clubs. Mr. Schwartz has served on the faculties of New York University, the Lucy Moses Music School, the Henry Street Settlement, and most recently the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he serves as Music Director for the School of Dance. He has worked as a dance musician for a vast array of schools and companies including The Limon School, Mark Morris Dance Group, Hunter College, New York University's Tisch School, and many, many others. He was formerly a resident composer for the Los Angeles-based Tonoi contemporary music ensemble, the Minnesota-based Renegade Ensemble, and New York City’s Vox Novus. His debut CD, 24 Ways of Looking at a Piano, named one of the top classical CDs of 2005 by All Music Guide, is available from Centaur Records. His second solo album, OYOU, will be available from CD Baby in 2011. His music is also available on Signum Classics, Capstone Records, Trace Label, and a host of others, and is published by Staunch Music (U.K.) and Lovebird Music (U.S.). http://www.ericschwartzcomposer.com
Frank Smith, Ballet (1983)
Born in Hamlet, N.C., Frank Smith studied at UNCSA from 1965-69. Awarded a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, where studied with Andre Eglevsky, Alexandra Danilova and Stanley Williams. Joined American Ballet Theatre in 1970, dancing leading roles in ballets by de Mille, Tudor, Robbins, Balanchine, Baryshnikov, and Makarova. Promoted to the rank of soloist in 1976 and remained with American Ballet Theatre until 1983. Has been acclaimed for performances of roles such as Pat Garrett in Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid and as Hilarion in the American Ballet Theatre’s Giselle. Performed many principal character roles in the full-length classical ballets. Appeared in the film THE TURNING POINT and has done numerous television specials. Mr. Smith is a 2008 recipient of UNCSA’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Abigail Yager, Contemporary (2012)
Abigail Yager was a member of the Trisha Brown Company from 1995–2002 during which time she also served as Ms. Brown’s musical assistant. She has also danced in the companies of Donna Uchizono, Sungsoo Ahn, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Emma Diamond, and Robin Becker among others. As a reconstructor of Ms. Brown’s choregoraphy, she has worked with Candoco (London, England), Lyon Opera Ballet (Lyon, France), at La Monnaie National Opera of Belgium (Brussels, Belgium), Le Festival International d’Art Lyrique (Aix-en-Provence, France), and has directed educational projects at the Taipei National University of the Arts, The Theatre Academy Helsinki, The Five College Dance Department, The Ohio State University, the American Dance Festival and at P.A.R.T.S. Ms. Yager has taught at universities, festivals, and studios worldwide, including the Kyoto International Dance Festival, Independent Dance at Siobhan Davies Studios, Le Centre Choréographique National de Rennes et de Bretagne, and the Irish World Academy of Music. She served as Guest Professor at Taipei National University of the Arts from 2010-2012 and 2003-2005, Visiting Associate Professor at The Ohio State University from 2006-2010, Guest Professor at Korean National University of the Arts from 2005-2006, and has been on the faculty at the American Dance Festival since 2003. Ms. Yager’s movement practice is directly informed by her studies of the Alexander Technique, Klein Technique and Qi Gong. Ms. Yager earned a B.A. in Compositional Studies: Theory and Practice from Mount Holyoke College graduating Magna Cum Laude, and a M.F.A in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival.
Ming-Lung Yang, Contemporary (2012)
Ming-Lung Yang is a native of Taiwan. He earned his B.A. in Dance from Chinese Culture University and his M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Yang was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1994-1999 and has danced professionally with Henry Yu and Dancers, Ku and Dancers, Hilary Easton, Wally Cardona, and was a founding member of Dance Forum Taipei. Mr. Yang was Choreographer in Residence of Dance Forum Taipei Dance Company from 1999-2005 and served as Artistic Director from 2002-2005. His choreography has been presented by numerous venues across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Foundation, Taipei Theatre (New York), Little Asia Dance Exchange Network (Hong Kong, Melbourne, Taipei, Tokyo), Crown Art Theatre (Taipei), Rencontres Choréographiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (Seoul), Pusan International Dance Festival, Het Muziektheater (Amsterdam), Bernese Dance Days International Festival (Bern), and Tropentheater (Amsterdam). Mr. Yang served as an Assistant Professor of Taipei National University of the Arts from 1999-2005, a Guest Professor at the Choreography Department of Korean National University of Arts from 2005-2006 and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Dance Department at the Ohio State University from 2006-2010. He is currently teaching at Taipei National University of the Arts as an Assistant Professor and has been teaching at the American Dance Festival since 2000.
Bill T. Jones (Recipient of the 2013 Lucia Chase Endowed Fellowship)