Department of Theatre & Dance - Spring 2010

News Highlights . . .

Montclair’s BA in Dance Education – Making Vital Community Connections . . . Graduates Working

The Dance Education Program, officially launched in fall 2008, is off and running, serving the dance community throughout the region.  Our graduates (spring 2009) readily found assignments teaching dance in New Jersey’s public schools and in private dance studios.  Our most recent class (fall 2009) is also in demand, with graduates serving in pre-schools and in dance studios.  They are hard at work applying for public school teaching positions for the 2010-2011 academic year. Our current students are learning the fundamentals of education and preparing to apply their knowledge in upcoming fieldwork and student teaching placements in our nine partnering schools.

The Department of Theatre and Dance has vigorously increased outreach activities to enhance connections between K-12 education and Montclair State -- offering professional development activities for teachers.  Moreover, Montclair State students are performing on campus and off- most recently at three area schools, an elder care facility, the Montclair Art Museum, and the 92nd Street Y in NYC.  This spring, they will be teaching a modern dance class at Montclair High School and next fall, our students will have the opportunity to participate in a unique “Dance for Children” course that will meet on site once a week at Bradford Elementary School with our students teaching the elementary students.  More on Montclair’s Dance Education can be found on the Department’s web page.


Montclair State Wins One of Two Performance Slots at the
National American College Dance Festivals

Dance professors Lori Katterhenry, Maxine Steinman and Nicole Smith accompanied 19 Montclair State University dance majors to the Northeast Regional American College Dance Festival (ACDF) at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA.  Montclair State presented Robert Battle's Arbitrary Intersection and Marino, a student work by Lisa Greenberg and Carlos Gonzalez.   Marino was one of two pieces chosen to represent the region at the National ACDF at the Kennedy Center.  Montclair State was the only university to have two pieces performed at the festival’s closing Gala. 

The National American College Dance Festival is offered every two years at the Kennedy Center.  The Montclair State Dance Division has been selected for 8 out of the last 11 national festivals. Student choreographer, Carlos Gonzalez, a Montclair State theater major, was also selected to perform at the dance festival's sister event, the national American College Theatre Festival- likewise held at the Kennedy Center.  The Department takes special delight in that one of its students would be recognized in both competitions in the span of a few weeks.  The national ACDF will be held May 27-29, 2010 in Washington.   From April 7-11, Marino and Arbitrary Intersection will both be featured in the upcoming Danceworks 2010 concert in the Alexander Kasser Theater.  



Montclair State’s Theater Majors Excel at the American College Theater Festival

The Region 2 American College Theater Festival was hosted by Indiana University of Pennsylvania in January. There were over 200 entries for the Irene Ryan Acting Award, where 3 out of the 16 finalists were Montclair State students. CARLOS GONZALEZ, a student in the BFA Acting program took top honors and TARA TAGLIAFERRO and DUSTIN FONTAINE were finalists.  Gonzalez and his partner ALISSA RAZZANO will continue to the next round of competitions at the National ACTF at the Kennedy Center in April.  LAURA BENNEDICT (winner of the Barbizon Award for Costume Design for her work on Arcadia) won the regional Costume Craft Award for her work in millinery - class projects. She will compete at the next level during the National Festival in April. .  Finalists from Montclair State also include DENNIS GRIMALDI for Scenic Design of A Man of No Importance and JESSICA MOY for her costume design for A Man of No Importance.  As a final note, Montclair State students won the regional Technical Theatre Award, which is on display in the department office.  




A Celebration of African-American Themes and Choreographers


April 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 pm
April 10 at 8:00 pm

April 11 at 2:00 pm.
Artistic directors: Lori Katterhenry and Nancy Lushington
Curators: Lori Katterhenry, Elizabeth McPherson, and Neil Baldwin
 Alexander Kasser Theater

Celebrate African American choreographers and choreography in this dance performance featuring Montclair State dancers and singers. Highlights of this unique performance include Games (1951) by Donald McKayle; Negro Spirituals (1928-1942) by Helen Tamiris; Buschasche Etude (1949-2003) by Pearl Primus; Arbitrary Intersection (2009) by Robert Battle; Excerpt from Bitter Tongue -- "Stomp Dance" (1989) by Urban Bush Women; and Thin Line...The journey between creativity and madness (2009) by Jay T. Jenkins. 


Theater Day for High School Teachers – May 21st

The 3rd annual Montclair State University Theatre Day for High School Teachers and 2nd annual Theatre Night Awards are scheduled for May 21, 2010. Professor SUE KERNER is working with the CART Office of Academic Services and Outreach Director MARIE SPARKS to organize a stimulating day of professional development workshops taught by Montclair State faculty, guest artists, and master teachers. This is a great opportunity for NJ theatre teachers to network with others in the field. Eighty NJ high school teachers participated in this event in 2008 and again in 2009. An exciting evening is planned to celebrate excellence in theatrical production of non-musical plays in NJ high schools. Distinguished actors and directors from NY and NJ will offer words of inspiration and encouragement to an audience of over 500 high school students, their teachers and parents. Montclair State theatre majors and alumni will select high school artists and stage productions that will receive awards at the ceremony.


People Spotlights. . .


CLAY JAMES was honored in February by the NHTA, a nationally recognized and award winning organization, for Outstanding Choreography in the "Professional Category" for his work on The Producersfor the Mt. Washington Valley Theatre Company this past summer.


In January, JORGE CACHIERO was honored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Theater Communications Group with a New Generations-Future Collaborations Award.  The award is for the upcoming Latin American premiere of Blind Mouth Singing that Cachiero is directing in Havana, Cuba and recognizes his work as an artist and cultural ambassador.  Cachiero is the first American theater director invited to work with a Cuban company in 50 years. 


SUE KERNER began her sabbatical on January 1st with a 3-week stay at Dankook University near Seoul, Korea. In a program organized by Montclair State’s Global Education Center, Professor Kerner conducted a Content-Based Methodology and Teaching Workshop for Korean university professors preparing to teach courses in English at Dankook University.


Visiting Scholar ERICK GRASS from Cuba’s Institute of Superior Arts has joined the Theater and Dance faculty this spring.  Mr. Grass is an award winning film, theater and ballet designer.   He will be working within both areas of the Department this Spring.   Erick will give presentations at the University and College this spring.  He will also give presentations at NYU and the University of Texas.


DR. BETH MCPHERSON taught a class in creative movement for the teachers at the NJAHPERD (New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) conference. She is also working on the documentary about Martha Hill. McPherson’s  article on Joseph Pilates will appear in the March issue of Dance Teacher Magazine.


NANCY LUSHINGTON has been commissioned to set May O’Donnell’s Pursuit of Happiness on NACRE Dance Company in upstate NY.


MAXINE STEINMAN received a grant from the O'Donnell-Green Foundation for Music and Dance in 2009 to collaborate with composer Matthew Ferry.  Performances culminated in a 25-minute work called Sense of Way, which premiered October 8, 2009.  She was also invited to perform in a special program called Women of the Y:  History in the Making at the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center in December 2009.



BFA Acting student CARLOS GONZALEZ won this year’s Kennedy Center Regional American Theater Festival Acting Award!   Carlos is now invited to Washington DC in April to compete for the National Acting Award.  This is the second time in three years that the Department of Theatre and Dance has had a BFA Acting student invited to Washington.   Carlos Gonzalez is also being awarded an Office of Education and Community Outreach Grant to assist JORGE CACHIERO in directing the Latin American premiere of Blind Mouth Singing in Havana, Cuba!

JACKLYN KAPPUS, a Senior Dance major, was honored by the NHTA, a nationally recognized and award-winning organization, for her work as Associate Choreography on “The Producers” for the Mt. Washington Valley Theatre Company this past summer.

In November 5-8, 2009, Peak Performances@ Montclair presented David Gordon’s Uncivil Wars, based on Bertolt Brecht’s anti-Nazi parable The Roundheads and the Pointheads where leaders of the fictional town of Yahoo maintain control between two groups of its own citizens. In this production, dance majors MARISSA AUCOIN, SARA FUNICELLO, GREGORY OSBORNE, NICOLE SANCA, and ASHLEY SEIDEL served as part of the chorus.

In January, TIANA TAYLOR, CARISSA BASEDOW, and GREG OSBORNE performed at Peak Performances @ Montclair in Lula Washington’s premier of WWW.CONNECTIONS.2010  (2010),  a piece inspired by the ever-changing way people use social networking in the 21st century.

Scheduled for March 25-28, 2010, students have been invited to perform in Doug Elkins’ Fraulein Maria, in a tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein film classic The Sound of Music.

Selected members of Montclair State’s Repertory Dance Company will perform Helen Tamiris’ Negro Spirituals in the “Fridays at Noon” series at the 92nd Street Y in May.


This spring (April 29 and 30, May 1 and 2, 2010) award-winning playwright and Montclair State alumnus JASON GROTE’93 (BFA in Theatre with a concentration in acting) will kick off Montclair State’s first New Works Initiative with a workshop presentation of a new play for the American theatre. This will mark the first year in which acclaimed artists will be invited to develop new performance works at Montclair State University in collaboration with Theatre and Dance students. This initiative is sponsored by College of the Arts Advisory Board member Robert Gregory.

TIMOTHY KOCHKA (BFA Dane 2009) and TINA NIKITHSER (BFA Dance 2009) are performing the duet from May O’Donnell’s Pursuit of Happiness for the 92nd St Y's “Fridays at Noon” series.

DIANA ALFIERI (BFA Dance 2005) Managing Director of the Garden State Dance Festival, a non-profit presenting dance organization, is a Dance Educator and Choreographer at CORE Academy of Movement, Mt Laurel NJ.

NINOSKA ESCOBAR (BFA Dance 2009) is pursuing a MFA degree in Dance at the University of Texas in Austin, TX.

STACEY PEPPER SCHWARTZ (BFA Dance 2006), Founder and Director of Leaping Legs Creative Movement Programs won the 2009 Dr. Toy award for 100 Best Children's products and 10 Best Active Products 2009 for her DVD Up Down & All Around.

ERIN PRIDE (BFA Dance 2002), CRISTINA MARTE (BFA Dance 2000) and CRISTEN BOTTEGA (BFA Dance 2005) are all finishing their Dance Education degrees at New York University.