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By SIobhan Burke
New Beginnings in Boston
International dancer, teacher, and choreographer Jill Johnson has been appointed director of the dance program and senior lecturer in the music department at Harvard University. She replaces Elizabeth Bergmann, who held the position for 11 years. A former soloist with National Ballet of Canada and principal with Ballett Frankfurt, Johnson is perhaps best known for setting Forsythe’s works on companies around the world, including Paris Opéra Ballet and Batsheva. She has served on the faculties of Princeton University, Barnard College, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She plans to strengthen ties between Harvard’s music department and dance program, which offers a combination of credit and co-curricular courses through the university’s Office for the Arts.
A Harvard alum, Cathy Young, takes over as director of the Dance Division at The Boston Conservatory. Young, who earned her BA from Harvard in 1984 and an MFA in dance from the University of Illinois, comes to TBC from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, where she is chair and co-founder of the Theater and Dance Department. A former dancer with Danny Buraczeski’s JAZZDANCE! (see “Across the Floor,” March 2009), Young has also taught at the Florida Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival. She plans to re-imagine the dance program at TBC with an eye toward preparing students for a broad range of careers in the dance field. “My goal is to honor the Conservatory’s emphasis on classical ballet and modern dance,” she said in a press statement, “while expanding the curriculum and programming into new areas, to best prepare our students for the arena of 21st-century dance.” She replaces Yasuko “Yasi” Tokunaga, who built a strong department over 21 years as director.
Get in LINE
Alonzo King LINES Ballet celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Summer Program with two student showcases open to the public, July 12 at the Cowell Theater and Aug. 19 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. More than 200 students, ages 11 to 25, will dance new works by Kara Davis, Robert Moses, Charles Moulton, and Amy Raymond, among other choreographers. See www.linesballet.org.
Bates College, home to the Bates Dance Festival, has established a new major in dance, to begin this fall. Since the 1960s, the college has offered a year-round dance program but never a formal degree. Majors will be required to attend at least one session of the summer festival’s three-week professional training program. See www.bates.edu/dance.
Honors & Awards
In April, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Florida State University artist-in-residence and founding director of Urban Bush Women, was named FSU’s 2011–2012 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, the highest honor that a faculty member can receive from the university. In May, Donald McKayle received an honorary degree from California Institute of the Arts. McKayle was artistic director of dance at CalArts in the 1970s and is a professor emeritus of dance at UC Irvine. In June, Donna Faye Burchfield, director of the School of Dance at University of the Arts and former dean of American Dance Festival, received ADF’s 2011 distinguished teaching award (formally known as the Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching).