Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts announced the appointment of Julianne O’Brien Pedersen as the new chairperson for the Department of Dance, effective with the 2016-17 academic year. She replaces Professor Nancy Dickson-Lewis who recently announced her retirement from the University.
O’Brien Pedersen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Connecticut College, a teaching certification in Yoga, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Choreography from The Ohio State University, and is a certified movement analyst through the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York.
Prior to joining Chapman University, Professor O’Brien Pedersen served as Dean of the Palladino School of Dance at Dean College in Franklin, MA. During her tenure at Dean College, she updated curriculum that received recognition in
; spearheaded new performance opportunities for students at prestigious venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Joyce Theatre, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; developed new summer programming that brought master teachers to the college; and built internships for students with a number of prestigious organizations including the Boston Ballet. Additionally, she served as an academic leader for a decade at Eastern Michigan University where she helped the dance program double in size, aligned curriculum with National Association of Schools of Dance standards, partnered with national presenting organizations, and cultivated donors in the creation of a new studio.
“We are very excited to have Julianne join us at Chapman University,” said Dr. Giulio Ongaro, Dean of the College of Performing Arts. “She brings a wealth of experience in leadership, dance pedagogy, and choreography and will undoubtedly be a force for innovation and growth in the Department of Dance. Our students have much to gain by her addition to the faculty.”
O’Brien Pedersen’s teaching interests focus on modern dance techniques, Bartenieff Fundamentals and other somatic practices, history, choreography, improvisation, and pedagogy. She will be presenting her work on modern dance pedagogy at the National Dance Education Organization 2016 conference held in Washington D.C. in October, and in 2015 she presented on composition pedagogy at the Dance and the Child International Festival in Denmark.
Her interest in K-12 arts integration curriculum has spanned two decades: receiving multiple grants from the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children to bring movement to underserved K-3 students in science classes, developing math in motion curriculum with the Malashock Dance School in San Diego and serving as a teaching artist for year-long programs in language arts classes, and integrating movement into the Franklin, Massachusetts public schools through arts integration internships and community outreach workshops with college students.
Professor O’Brien Pedersen has worked in the field of dance as a performer, choreographer, academic leader, and dance educator. She performed as a founding member and soloist for 14 years with the Peter Sparling Dance Company of Michigan, an award-winning company nationally recognized for its interdisciplinary projects, use of film and internet technologies, and historic repertory. While with Sparling, who was a member of both the Limon Company and the Graham Company, she had the opportunity to train deeply in two foundational modern dance techniques. She enjoys the privilege and responsibility of passing this legacy on to future dancers. She has also performed in Duncan repertory with Lori Bellilove, as well as in work by Bill Evans.
O’Brien Pedersen has choreographed more than 50 dances that have been seen in venues across the United States and El Salvador. She has received numerous grants and awards for her choreography, including funding from the US Embassy in El Salvador, and placement in the 2016 American College Regional Dance Festival.