Nested in the arts mecca of New York City and as the nation’s premier institution in the teaching of teachers in all fields, Teachers College is the ideal place to earn a doctorate in dance education and to join the legacy of dance education leadership.

As the primary incubator for the development of dance education in PK-12 schools and universities, Teachers College has played a principal role in producing dance education leaders for over 100 years. Early dance education pioneer, Professor Gertrude Colby (1874-1960), began her studies at Teachers College in the Autumn of 1911. While a student, she was employed by the Speyer school, a laboratory school housed within Teachers College. Her innovative work with the children garnered much attention, resulting in her hire to teach dance pedagogy courses to aspiring and experienced educators at Teachers College as early as 19121. Until her retirement in 1933, Colby was the innovator of “natural dancing,” a creative process approach to dance instruction2. Many future dance education luminaries were drawn to study with her and other progressive faculty at Teachers College3

Gertrude Colby's Musical Movement Class, Grade 5, The Horace Mann School 1917-1918 catalog, Teachers College, Columbia University, accessed via Teachers College PocketKnowedge digital archives.

Photo Credit: Gertrude Colby's Musical Movement Class, Grade 5, The Horace Mann School 1917-1918 catalog, Teachers College, Columbia University, accessed via Teachers College PocketKnowedge digital archives.

Amongst the many pioneering alumni who developed the field includes Margaret H’Doubler, founder of the first major in dance at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Martha Hill, the Martha Graham dancer and pioneering director of dance at NYU, Bennington College, Connecticut College and the Juilliard School; Mabel Ellsworth Todd and Lulu Sweigard, pioneers in the field of somatic practice.

Prior to the new Doctorate in Dance Education, Teachers College had a long history of cultivating luminary dance education leaders through a variety of programs, such as Physical Education, Movement Science, Dance Education, Curriculum and Teaching and Art Education. Our list of distinguished alumni includes:

  • Jody Gottfried Arnhold, PK-12 dance educator and arts advocate; Founding Director of 92Y Dance Education Laboratory (DEL); producer of PS Dance! and the Dance for Every Child movement; and Ed.D. Dance Education program benefactor.
  • Barbara Bashaw, PK-12 dance educator; Associate Professor and founding graduate director of Dance Education and PK-12 Dance Teacher Certification Program at Rutgers University; 2003 NDEO Emerging Visionary awardee and author of articles pertaining to PK-12 dance education.
  • Jill Flanders Crosby, a performer, choreographer, professor at University of Alaska Anchorage and author of seminal books and articles pertaining to dance ethnography and dance in the African and Cuban diaspora.
  • Alma Hawkins, founder of the UCLA Dance Department; a dance/movement therapist and researcher and the author of seminal books in modern dance education and dance making.
  • Sin Cha Hong, the noted South Korean dancer, choreographer, vocalist and writer.
  • Beryl McBurnie, the Trinidadian dancer known as La Belle Rosette.
  • Rachel Moore, the president and CEO of LA’s Music Center and the former Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre.
  • Ruth Lovell Murray, a professor at Wayne State University; author of the seminal book, Dance in Elementary Education (1953) and National Dance Association Heritage Awardee in 1969.
  • Wendy Oliver, a performer, choreographer, professor at Providence College, and author of seminal books and articles in dance history, critique and writing for dance.
  • Annie-B Parson, the choreographer and co-director of Big Dance Theater.
  • Mila Parrish a performer, choreographer, Associate Professor of Dance Education, Technology & New Media at University of North Carolina Greensboro; founding President of NCDEO and author of dance education articles.
  • Hiromi Sakamoto, director/producer for NHK, TV Tokyo, Mainichi, Fuji Television and TV Ashai; founder of Tempo corporation, a nonprofit producing TV programs and performing arts projects; creator of the “Family Learning Center” at Kyoto University of Art and Design and professor at Kindai University in Osaka, Japan.
  • Janet Soares, a performer with Jose Limon dance company, choreographer, professor at Barnard College and dance author of seminal books about Lois Horst and Martha Hill.
  • Martha Sprague, a PK-12 dance educator; associate professor at Brown University and Roger Williams University; 2004 Dance Teacher magazine teacher of the year awardee; 2005 NDEO Dance Educator of the Year awardee and co-author of seminal dance pedagogy books.
  • Suzi Tortora, a board-certified dance movement therapist; Laban Nonverbal Movement Analyst; specialist in the field of infancy mental health and development and author of seminal books and articles in dance therapy.
  • Malachy Williams, a television writer/producer; 2011 recipient of the McDonald’s Black Media Legends award; Associate Minister of Worship and the Arts, First Baptist Church of Cranford/Elizabeth, NJ and a teaching fellow at New York Theological Seminary.

1Teachers College. School of education announcement, 1912-1913.  pp. 93-94.
2Colby, G. (1922). Natural rhythms and dances. New York, NY: A.S. Barnes & Company.
3Soars, J.M. (2009). Martha Hill and the making of American dance. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, p. 19.

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