Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Q&A with New Dance Faculty and Staff

Q&A with New Dance Faculty and Staff

This semester, the School of Music and Dance is pleased to welcome four new members to the Dance Faculty/Staff. Learn more about this awesome team of dance educators/makers in the profiles below.

Dr. Chuyun Oh
Assistant Professor of Dance History

Where did you work before taking this position at SDSU?
I worked at Hamilton College in upstate New York, and the University of Texas at Austin before joining SDSU.

What attracted you to SDSU?
When I came to SDSU for my campus visit interview, I fell in love the integration of practice and theory, and rigorous, philosophical approach of the dance program. Also, students’ and faculty members’ genuine interests in self-achievement and self-actualisation through arts and dancemaking truly appealed to me. Now, working at SDSU, I am even more excited to work and collaborate with SDSU community to sustain its vibrant arts scene and serve community beyond the classroom.

Do you have a specific area of interest in dance/dance research? If so, what?
My research areas include performance ethnography, transnational media and popular culture, and the construction of race, gender, sexuality, and postcoloniality in performance. Recently, I am particularly interested in dance and performance ethnography as it is a way we could hear voices from the field, reflect ourselves, and make a difference beyond academia. One of my future research plans includes working with refugee communities at San Diego and produces a public dance performance and a documentary film based on the ethnographic fieldwork.

What is your favorite band/type of music?
I love all kinds of music as long as it moves my heart. I think what I like at this moment, whether it’s a piece of poetry, a specific sound of music, a type of movements, or a person, reflects who I am at this time, and who I want to be, which might sound whimsical, but still, a part of continuous, ephemeral process of becoming. Over the past few days, I have been listening to Lascia Ch’io Pianga in Farinelli, Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, and Eagles’ Hotel California.

What do you like to do for fun?
I like outdoor activities, especially skiing, but it seems not feasible given the lovely weather in California. I want to learn surfing, but am afraid of sharks (not joking). I am new to this area, so maybe you can suggest me some fun activities or places to hang out!

Anna Brown Massey
Lecturer in Dance

Where did you work before taking this position at SDSU?
I worked in Columbus earning my MFA in Dance from the Ohio State University, where I led movement and seminar courses related to my research. Through commissions and grants, I choreographed within and outside the academy, including as Research Fellow for the Collaboration on Humane Technologies, as director of the interactive intermedia work Secret Frolic Live, and as choreographer for the indie rock trucker musical SEMI FAME. Before matriculation, I performed, choreographed, and taught in New York City for ten years and founded the nonprofit arts platform NACHMO (National Choreography Month), which engages over 200 dancers annually in a month-long dance-making challenge. NACHMO’s 2017 season closed with 17 shows in 40 cities, and I hope to include San Diego’s dance community in 2018.

What attracted you to SDSU?
I had been seeking a setting in which to foster both engaged citizenship and visionary art-making. The Division of Dance at SDSU is known for its comprehensive approach sustained by faculty dedicated to teaching and students invested in growth. I am thrilled to bring my scholarship in contemporary forms and cultural criticism.

Do you have a specific area of interest in dance/dance research? If so, what?
I research modes of dance-making that include intermedia performance and cross-disciplinary improvisation. My works frequently address the humanity of the performers and audience, and in the classroom I likewise employ inclusive pedagogy as a foundation for taking risks. I believe that art, and especially dance, allows us not merely to be ourselves, but to discover the transience of self through the changing body, and in doing so, to reveal the possibility of more fully understanding each other.

My creative process includes establishing precise rules accompanied by unguarded expectations. I am curious about how students, performers, and activated audience members can generate complex systems out of simple guidelines. I frequently employ improvisational practices of theater-makers and jazz musicians, and I draw methods of editing my work from writers who write about writing. My interest in the intersection of language, media, and movement gives rise to cross-disciplinary material in both my choreography and my teaching.

What is your favorite band/type of music?
This week I am listening to the latest neo-classical album Not Living in Fear by Here In Now, Counterfeit Madison’s live Nina Simone album, and Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint. And after seeing choreographer Bebe Miller’s work-in-progress last month, I’ve had Donny Hathway’s I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know on repeat.

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a voracious reader and I am particularly drawn to topics addressing race, performance, and politics. Today I am writing you, and taking ongoing notes drawn from recent reading for my upcoming week of teaching. Earlier this week found me hanging with friends on tour, reading the latest New Yorker magazine, swimming at a new (to me) beach, and attending a Padres v. Dodgers game. I travel frequently, and I spent some weeks this year with a trusty rental car in Morocco and Nova Scotia.

And–of course–I love dancing. I dance for pleasure, for research, and for community. I am delighted to be in San Diego, and look forward to dancing with new colleagues and collaborators.

Anne Gehman
Lecturer in Dance

Where did you work before taking this position at SDSU?
Before coming here I was finishing the Graduate program in Dance Theatre at University California San Diego. One of the highlights of UCSD’s program is the opportunity to teach their Beginning Level Technique courses for Majors, Minors and non-majors. Also, I continue to teach technique classes within the community for Jean Isaac’s San Diego Dance Theatre. I co-produce youTurn Arts annually and perform with local dance companies and artists such as, Blythe Barton Dance Company, Somebodies Dance Theatre and Yolande Snaith’s Imago Moves.

What attracted you to SDSU?
I am inspired by the Professors and educators currently leading the dance program at SDSU. They are disrupting and dismantling structures traditionally associated with “training” thinking/moving bodies. They are practicing inclusivity. They are challenging young minds and hearts to create and generate original content. They are providing applicable tools for what is current in the contemporary dance making world, while still honoring dance lineage and literacy. They are teaching students to inquire, research, reflect and be in relationship with dance.

Do you have a specific area of interest in dance/dance research? If so, what?
I do not have a specific area of research.

I am currently interested in noticing the ways in which our Spiritual Anatomy and Physical Anatomy are one in the same. Dance seems to have its own wisdom or language for revealing the interconnectedness of these anatomies. Dance’s revelations are personal, social, political and mystical.

What is your favorite band/type of music?
Right now, I’m digging Rising Appalachia, two female folk singer-songwriter musicians.

What do you like to do for fun?
Stand up Paddle Board. Talk to trees. Meditate. Time Travel. Shamanic Drumming.
I like to have long conspiracy conversations with friends who graciously decide not to commit me to psychiatric care facilities.
Play with my two large dogs, Batman and Suri.
Being a catalyst. Being a seed planter.
I love working on modes of translation with mineral kingdoms (crystals) mediums include: drawing, writing, moving, wood carving, dreaming, dowsing, toning, weaving.
I enjoy finding time to support others in their life missions and creative processes.

Krista Nelson
Dance Production Assistant

Where did you work before taking this position at SDSU?
I was, and still am, wearing a number of hats for different employers. I teach dance and yoga at a few organizations in San Diego. Additionally, I recently completed an internship with American Dance Festival in North Carolina prior to beginning work with SDSU.

What attracted you to SDSU?
I am attracted to the quality of the research and teaching that is happening in the dance division. I am also an alumni of SDSU Dance Division, and cannot express how transformational the program is. The faculty are so passionate and responsive to student’s learning experience.

Do you have a specific area of interest in dance/dance research? If so, what?
I am interested primarily in improvisational, and therefore co-authored, dance making. I am most interested in the making of dance, and the making of meaning (rather than the performance of dance and the performance of meaning).

What is your favorite band/type of music?
I don’t really have a favorite. I can listen to nearly everything, depending on my mood. If you were forcing me to pick a style of music though, I would describe it as alternative pop music- Basically the music, you hear on 91X and 94.9. It’s just too much fun to sing way too loudly.

What do you like to do for fun?
Well, I obviously love to spend time in the studio dancing. Aside from that, I like to spend time with my boyfriend going to breweries and I like to read.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

News List