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Elizabeth McPherson

Professor, Theatre and Dance

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Elizabeth McPherson is a Professor, Director of the Dance Division, Deputy Chair of Theatre and Dance, and Coordinator of the MFA in Dance at Montclair State University. She received her BFA from Juilliard, followed by an MA from The City College of New York, and a PhD from New York University. She is the editor of "Milestones in Dance in the USA and "The Bennington School of the Dance: A History in Writings and Interviews"; author of "The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education"; and co-author of "Broadway, Balanchine, and Beyond: A Memoir." Information on her newest book, which won the Ruth Lovell Murray 2023 book award from the National Dance Education Organization, can be found here: "Milestones in Dance in the USA can be found here: Executive Editor for the journal "Dance Education in Practice," she has written articles for various other publications including "Ballet Review," the "Journal of Dance Education," and the "Journal of Movement Arts Literacy." She worked on the film "Miss Hill Making Dance Matter" as a consultant and member of the producing board as well as appearing in the film. Her research projects have been supported by grants from the American Association of University Women, the Capezio Foundation, the Dance Films Association, and Montclair State University (Career Development grants), and she is the 2014 recipient of the New York State Dance Education Association Outstanding Researcher in Dance Education award.

Dr. McPherson has staged numerous 20th century dance works from Labanotation, such as Charles Weidmann's "Brahms Waltzes," Antony Tudor's "Continuo," and Doris Humphrey's "Partita V." In 2016, she served as the Ketchum Artist-in-Residence at Sarah Lawrence College staging excerpts from Anna Sokolow's "Rooms." She is a board member for the Martha Hill Dance Fund and serves on the advisory board of the National Dance Education Organization. Performance credits include: Ernesta Corvino's Dance Circle Company, Avodah Dance Ensemble, and the Louis Johnson Dance Theatre.


The focus of Elizabeth McPherson's research is teaching and learning in dance education with an emphasis on history. In addition and as part of this specialization, she has expertise in the fields of both ballet and modern dance and stages dances from Labanotation, a written form of dance. Her book co-written with Bettijane Sills: "Broadway, Balanchine, and Beyond: A Memoir" (, was published in March of 2019. She is a contributing author to the book "Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies on Humanizing Dance Pedagogy" (, which was published in 2020. Her book "Milestones in Dance in the USA" was published in September of 2022 ( At Montclair State, she teaches the undergraduate courses: Dance Appreciation, American Dance History, Dance Methods, New Student Seminar, and Repertory. She teaches the graduate courses: Research, Writing and Publication; Pedagogical Perspectives; and Dance in the USA.

Office Hours


1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Research Projects

Balanchine, Broadway, and Beyond: A Memoir

I assisted the former New York City Baller dancer Bettijane Sills in writing her memoir. In her roller-coaster career on the New York stage, former actor and dancer Sills offers a highly personal look at the art and practice of George Balanchine, one of ballet’s greatest choreographers, and the inner workings of his world-renowned company during its golden years. Publication date: March 2019.

Case Studies in Dance Education

I am a section editor and collaborating author of 2 essays for the book Ethical Dimensions in Humanizing Dance Pedagogy: Case Studies in Dance Education published by McFarland and Co. Publishers, March 2019.

Milestones in Dance in the USA

Embracing dramatic similarities, glaring disjunctions, and striking innovations, this book, edited by Elizabeth McPherson and published in 2022, explores the history and context of dance on the land we know today as the United States of America.

Designed for weekly use in dance history courses, it traces dance in the USA as it broke traditional forms, crossed genres, provoked social and political change, and drove cultural exchange and collision. The authors put a particular focus on those whose voices have been silenced, unacknowledged, and/or uncredited – exploring racial prejudice and injustice, intersectional feminism, protest movements, and economic conditions, as well as demonstrating how socio-political issues and movements affect and are affected by dance. In looking at concert dance, vernacular dance, ritual dance, and the convergence of these forms, the chapters acknowledge the richness of dance in today’s USA and the strong foundations on which it stands.