For a short time , the global footprint of the program included a second location in Puerto Rico which served all of Latin America . In 2017 studios and classes were offered in San Juan which served as the summer residency site for the region .
“ With the move to Latin America , we really embraced the international dimensions of dance ,” said Christina Teague-Mann , assistant professor of dance and coordinator of international initiatives for the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities in which the MFA in choreography is housed . “ Our program was the first graduate-level degree in dance in Puerto Rico and the first low-residency MFA in Latin America . As we ’ ve broadened our footprint it ’ s been wonderful to share and incorporate different influences . Today we are truly a global program that honors the nuances of local cultures and geographies .”
Just like its students , the MFA in choreography has also been in transition over the last decade , evolving from regional to national to international prominence , and through the years , it has weathered a few storms , literally and figuratively . On Sept . 20 , 2017 , Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico as a strong category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph . As a result , the Puerto Rico location was closed , and the 2018 summer residency that would have been held there combined with the residency at White Oak , bringing 34 artists and researchers together .
More recently , as the pandemic brought a screeching halt to many international endeavors in higher education , the MFA in choreography was able to continue throughout 2020 , due in large part , to the flexibility its low-residency format allows .
“ Response to COVID-19 created a focus on expanding the scope of choreography for sustainability and brought forward new understandings that were centered on the question : ‘ how do choreographers fit into the landscape of creative research for innovation and change ?’ said Teague-Mann . Specifically , faculty evaluated the pedagogical approach for the Examining Practice courses – core courses for the MFA Choreograph – to establish a solid foundation for the expanded conceptualization of choreography .
“ Attention to this expansion did not negate the students ' previous knowledge of choreography . Rather , it allowed the student ’ s previous knowledge to shift , taking critical perspectives into the choreographic movement – choreography as extended practice ,” explained Teague-Mann . “ In this way the body is subject , tool and material and converges with relational practices , aesthetics and participatory aesthetics to help structure ways in which choreography may enter into interdisciplinary dialogues .”
While the last few years have held challenges , growth and many successes , the MFA in choreography has steadily continued the work of advancing the careers and aspirations of its degree candidates . From the world ’ s biggest stages , to classrooms , to studios and businesses , they have taken what they have learned at Jacksonville University , and they have shared their transitions as performers , choreographers , researchers and any other roles to which they ’ ve ascended . They are the butterflies , and for a short time , the MFA in choreography was their encouraging , inspiring and creative cocoon .
“ It ’ s fascinating for me to go to conferences and to see our alumni being leaders in the field ,” Palmer said . “ To hear them say with pride that they came from our program shows that we ’ ve offered a degree that has prepared them for their futures , and I love that . ”
By Jacqueline Palsha
www . ju . edu / steincollege 7
Director of Jazz Studies and Artist-
in-Residence in Music, John Ricci’s
video production and jazz quartet
performance of an original piece
from his debut album, Ballerina, was
accepted to the this year’s National
Public Radio Tiny Desk Concert
Competition. Adjunct Professors of
Jazz Scott Giddens and Stanley Piper
accompanied Prof. Ricci on the award-
Jacksonville University hosted the fourth
annual Summer Chamber Music
Intensive in 2021. High school students
from Savannah to Sarasota experienced
college life, staying in Oak Hall, while
practicing and studying music throughout
the day and evening. Co-directors, Dr.
Shannon Lockwood and Dr. Marguerite
Richardson, were joined by JU faculty
Dr. Scott Watkins and Brian Magnus,
and guest faculty Stephanie Lindsay, Kevin
Casseday (Jacksonville Symphony), Timothy
Edwards, and Dr. Holly Attar (Northern
Kentucky University) as instructors for
the week. JU music majors, Armando
Atanda, Joseph Brantley, Sumer Fox, Marco
Melendez, Casey Mikhedok, AJ Pulliam,
Sophia Schlenoff, and Sarah-Iyuna Spencer
(six out of eight of these students are former
CMI campers that have since matriculated
as JU students) worked as camp interns,
mentoring campers throughout the week.
Associate Professor of English, Ed
McCourt published the essay “To Grow
Before Spring” in the Winter 2021 edition of
Blue Mountain Review.
Tiffany Leach, Associate Professor
of Art and Department of Visual
Arts Chair, was invited to exhibit at
the Jacksonville International Airport
as a featured 3D artist in the Connector
Bridge Showcases and the Haskell Gallery.
Prof. Leach was selected to exhibit in the
prestigious NCECA Annual Exhibition.
The work 30 More Days to Flatten the Curve
was featured in the 2021 conference
exhibition titled Social Recession.
Dr. Erich Freiberger, Professor of
Philosophy, was appointed to the Ethics
Commission of the City of Jacksonville
in 2021. He chaired a session and
presented a paper titled “On Hunting and
Acting in Plato’s Sophist, Statesman and
Republic” at the virtual meeting of the
South-Central Renaissance Conference.Assistant Professor and Chair of
Theatre, Erik DeCicco; and Assistant
Professor of Occupational Therapy, Dr.
Megan Bewernitz presented “Toward
Transdisciplinarity at a Liberal Arts
University: Building a Foundation for
Integrating the Arts and Health Sciences”
in panel format.
Professor of Spanish, Latin American
Literature and International Studies, Dr.
Jorge Majfud’s book, La Frontera Salvaje, was
released to international acclaim and ranked
#2 on Amazon Bestsellers list in the category
of Politics and Spanish.Laura Winn, Assistant Professor of Art
History, presented her paper “Mimicry or
Mockery? Hilda Rix Nicholas’s Ambivalent,
Antipodean Orientalism” during the
Eastern Questions: New Perspectives on
British Orientalism symposium at Royal
Holloway, University of London.
Dana C. Tupa, Professor of Art and
Stein College Associate Dean, accepted
an invitation to exhibit her nature inspired
sculptures during the La Vie en Rose Art &
Wine Festival near Ashville, NC. Hosted by
Marked Tree Vineyards, the North Carolina
Arts Council, and the Arts Council
of Henderson County, Tupa reserves
the distinct honor of premier artist
for the winery. The works spring from
observations and conversations spanning
the winery’s inaugural batch aging years
through the time of pandemic.
An interdisciplinary team from Brooks
and Stein Colleges presented at the Mayo
Clinic 2021 Humanities in Medicine
Symposium. The annual gathering
showcases best practices and research
related to the Health Humanities. Adjunct
Professor, Edith Moore Hubert;
Associate Professor and Chair of
Music, Kimberly Beasley; Professor
of Dance, Cari Martin-Freiberger;
Alex Willemin, Assistant Professor
of Film, was honored as recipient of the
Rising Star Award by the Jacksonville Film
and Television Association for “outstanding
contributions and achievements to
Jacksonville’s film and television industry”
Professor of Spanish, Jorge Majfud,
delivered a lecture virtually to the
University of California entitled, “What
Good is Culture?” in November, 2021.
His book La Frontera Salvaje was released
in a new edition in Spain. His latest
book, La privatización de la verdad (The
privatization of Truth), will be published
by the University of Valencia Press.
Assistant Professor of Art History, Dr.
Laura Winn’s abstract titled “Henry Ossawa
Tanner’s Orientalist Aesthetic Escape to
North Africa” was accepted to the NCSA’s
(Nineteenth-Century Studies Association)
42nd annual national conference.
Professor of Philosophy Dr. Scott
Kimbrough’s essay “Identity Pleas and
Excuses” appeared in Flash Philosophy.
Prof. Tony Steve, Artist-in-Residence
in Music, was invited to participate
in the 2021 International Marimba
Orchestra. The ensemble performed
for the 2021 Percussive Arts Society
Convention and completed a residency
at Kutztown University Center for
Mallet Percussion Research.
Assistant Professor of French,
Dr. Tamara Caudill, published “It
Takes Two: Considerations of Voice
and Performance of the Male-Female
Tenso,” in Gender and Voice in Medieval
French Literature and Lyric, ed. Rachel
Golden and Katherine Kong (Gainesville:
University Press of Florida, 2021).
Lana Heylock, Associate Professor
of Dance, was contributor to a recent
Dance Magazine article on the part-
time college dancer and alternatives to
traditional routes of dance education.
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Stein College School of Performing
Arts faculty Drs. Scott Watkins,
Marguerite Richardson and Shannon
Lockwood, and Professors Brian
Osborne, Todd Lockwood, Brian
Magnus, and Eric Olson all performed in
the Jacksonville Symphony’s presentation
of Handel’s holiday classic, Messiah. There
were two performances which had limited
in-person seating, and the event was
also live-streamed free-of-charge to the
community. Performing in the Jacksonville
Symphony’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s
Nutcracker ballet were Professors
Stephanie Magnus and Les Roettges.
For all performances, COVID-19 guidelines
were followed for the benefit of performers
and audience members alike.
Nick McNally, Assistant Professor of
Illustration and Ron Edelen, Assistant
Professor of Graphic Design, authored
EPIC grants to support the Print Shop,
a new collaboration between Visual and
Dr. Tamara Caudill, Assistant
Professor of French, co-edited a
special volume of Le Cygne: Journal of
the International Marie de France Society,
“Teaching Marie de France,” with Glyn S.
Burgess (University of Liverpool).
Professors Erik DeCicco and Jay
Ivey were honored with Excellence in
Direction for their work in the Fall 2020
production of Diastole at Kennedy Center
American College Theater Festival.
Dr. Erich Freiberger, Professor and
Chair, Department of Philosophy,
presented a paper entitled “The Platonic
Intertexts in Hamlet” to the Ohio Valley
Shakespeare Conference at Owens
College in Toledo, Ohio.
Dr. Laura Winn
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,
Madeleine Wagner, mounted an
exhibition titled She tries to be perfect,
she fails, it is okay at the Young Harris
College (PA) Campus Gate Gallery.
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