Faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance work in a variety of fields. The following are fields and creative activities in which our theatre and dance faculty have distinguished specializations.
A professional director and choreographer whose recent credits include work in Norway, Scotland, Chile, and at Forestburgh Playhouse in NY and SummerTide Theatre in Gulf Shores. She is a member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Alabama Conference of Theatre, and is Vice President of the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance International.
A dramaturg who has published two books, Stanislavski in Ireland: Focus at Fifty and Breaking Boundaries: A Anthology of Original Plays from the Focus Theatre, as well as Andrew P. Wilson and the Early Irish and Scottish National Theatres, 1911-1950 and Stage Plays: An Introductory Anthology. He has also published articles and reviews in Theatre History Studies, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Symposium, Southern Theatre, David Mamet Review, Theatre Journal, Prospects, the Oxford Companion to United States History, Holocaust Literature, and Reference Guide to Holocaust Literature
Specializing in technical production and entertainment automation, he has worked professionally with Fisher Technical Services in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he continues to work as a consultant and designer. At Fisher, he was the Head of Electrical Design, responsible for automation design on projects such as: Celine Dion’s Return to Las Vegas, Shrek the Musical at Drury Lane Theatre, London; and the renovation of the David H. Koch Theater at New York City’s Lincoln Center. Additionally, he managed automation design for projects including The World of Colorand Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure Park, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark on Broadway; and The Metropolitan Opera’s Ring Cycle in New York City. He is an active member of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology and served as the Digital Media and Technology Coordinator for the United States entries into the 2007 Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition of Scenography and Theatre Architecture in the Czech Republic. He is also a member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference and the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.
Accomplished Soprano Luvada A. Harrison made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the Manhattan Philharmonic and her Lincoln Center debut in Alice Tully Hall with the New York Choral Society as the soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater. She has also worked for the Education Department of the New York City Opera Company, the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the “Meet the Artist” series at Lincoln Center, as well as presented recitals and master classes at several universities throughout the United States including Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Albany State University in Georgia, Liberty University in Virginia and Pikeville University in Kentucky. Harrison has also appeared as a featured soloist with the Tuscaloosa Symphony.
Specializing in Acting and Voice, she recently presented a selection from her upcoming project “Step Mama Drama” in Chicago, Illinois as part of the Identity Cabaret during the summer of 2016 at DePaul University, the piece presented later in production at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In August of 2014, she was invited to perform in “Cross Cultural Archetypes” in London, England at the Royal School of Speech and Drama. Vocal coaching credits include the 2011 summer season at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the New York productions of Hell and Alcestis Ascending. She also created and performed in a one-woman show titled Considering Georgia O’Keeffe at the 2009 and 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well as the 2010 East to Edinburgh Festival in New York City. She recently co-authored an article titled “Managing ‘Vocal Dose’ and the acting voice: how much is too much?” in the December 2017 Voice and Speech Review Journal. She is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).
Specializing in Musical Theatre and Vocal Instruction, his varied performance credits include the role of Maurice on the National/North American tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, roles with numerous opera companies including Atlanta Opera and Baltimore Opera, as well as several summers with Lees-McRae Summer Theatre. He also taught and performed at the Escola de Musica da Universidade Federal da Bahia in Brazil and is a member of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance, the Southeastern Theatre Conference, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the American Guild of Musical Artists, and Pi Kappa Lambda.
Specializing in Costume Design and Production, credits include work for The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, The Memphis Black Rep, The RedLight Theatre (Washington D.C.), Arkansas State University, University of Louisiana-Monroe, Ouachita Baptist College, Henderson State University, Louisiana State University and The University of Northern Iowa. Meester served as Design Chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival-Region IV and is a 2011 Recipient of the Kennedy Center Golden Medallion Award, the highest award given to Educators. An active member in the United States Institute for Theatre Design/Technology, Donna recently served six years as the Costume Commissioner.
Specializing in Acting and also a professional director, playwright and filmmaker, he has worked internationally in Havana, Cuba with the Ministry of Culture (directing productions of The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Importance of Being Earnest, Beyond Therapy, and Alcestis Ascending); Off-Broadway at the 59E59 Theatre , American Place Theater, Westbeth Theater Center, Harold Clurman Theatre, Samuel Beckett Theatre, and Urban Stages Theatre; regionally at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (three seasons), Utah Shakespearean Festival, Texas Shakespeare Festival and Idaho Repertory Theatre; and in Los Angeles at the Globe Playhouse, Odyssey Theatre, Ventura Court Theatre, Complex Theatre and the Hillside Repertory Company. His plays Hell: Paradise Found (published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc.), Separate and Equal, Alcestis Ascending and Dammit, Shakespeare! have received critical success in New York and Los Angeles productions. His most recent film Service to Man was awarded Best Picture honors at numerous national and international festivals, including the American Black Film Festival. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatists Guild of America.
Specializing in Lighting, Sound and Digital Design, his work has been enjoyed at American Southwest Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Cardinal Theatre, and Brown County Playhouse, among others. He has also had the pleasure of designing for fantastic choreographers like George Pinney, Ben Munisteri, Jin Wen Yu, Bella Lewitzky, Debra Knapp, Sherrie Barr, and Iris Rosa. He has 2 publications by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, the Gretel Geist Design Award for his lighting design of The American Clock, Best Sound Design Pulsar Award Nomination for As You Like It, Best Lighting Design Pulsar Award Nomination for Legally Blonde, KCACTF Regional Selection for As You Like It (sound design) and Twelfth Night (sound and lighting design) and is a long-standing member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology; the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects, and Technicians; Phi Beta Kappa; and an affiliate of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
Specializing in Acting, Stage Movement and Alexander Technique, recent movement and directing credits include Arena Stage in Washington DC and Richmond Symphony in VA and credits as an actor, puppeteer and other capacities include MCC Theater, La Mama E.T.C., Theatre for the New City, Mabou Mines, Aisling Arts, The Roundabout Theatre Company and Inside Broadway. She taught theatre, puppetry and directed with Limelight Productions, a theatre company she co-founded to promote theatre and facilitate dialogue on Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
Specializing in Modern Technique, Choreography and Improvisation, Dance Pedagogy and Dance History, her choreography has been shown across the U.S. and internationally, including performances in Sorrento, Italy, Biel, Switzerland and at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. She directs the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive at UA where she teaches modern, dance history, and experiential anatomy and has choreographed for their Showcase. She has been a guest artist with Alabama State University, Emory University, the Alabama Dance Festival, the American College Dance Association, the Children’s Dance Foundation, and the Alberta School of the Performing Arts. Sarah also has publications in the Journal of Dance Education, the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters journal, and the Journal of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science.
Specializing in Ballet, he has danced with two of the top ballet companies in China and America, including Liaoning Ballet of China and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Guo has performed many principal and solo roles of ballet including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Gisselle, Le Corsaire, and George Balanchine’s ballet Jewels Rubies, Stars and Stripes, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. He participated in many national and international ballet competitions including China’s 1st National Ballet Competition in 1985, in which he won the silver medal; the 2nd International Ballet Competition in New York in 1987; the 13th international Ballet Competition in Varna Bulgaria in 1988; and the 7th International Ballet Competition in France in 1988, in which he won the gold medal. He was awarded a certificate of qualification to teach Vaganova ballet method from Ballet Heritage Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia and he also is a certified teacher for American Ballet Theater’s National Training Curriculum.
Specializing in jazz, contemporary, choreography, and dance history, Jackson has choreographed over 75 original works for the concert stage. Most recently, Lawrence choreographed an off Broadway production, Separate and Equal, which premiered at Theater 59E59 in September 2018 and subsequently nominated for the 2019 AUDELCO Award for Best Choreography.
Professionally, he devoted several years performing with the internationally acclaimed dance company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. Additionally, he has performed as a guest artist in a variety of venues on the concert stage. Jackson has served as a guest artist/choreographer/master teacher at the California State University Northridge, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Florida, University of Wyoming, Alabama State University, Brenau University, University of Northern Colorado, West Virginia University, Western Wyoming Community College, Dancer’s Workshop, Red Mountain Theatre Company, American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, Alabama Dance Festival, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, International Association of Blacks in Dance, Florida Dance Festival, Tennessee Dance Festival, and American College Dance Association.
As a scholar, Jackson has published in many scholarly journals in the field of Black Dance. Most recently, he co-edited and published a special edition devoted to Black Dance in the Journal of Pan African Studies. This edition marked the second occurrence in history, where an academic journal edition was committed solely to Black Dance.
Dr. Fenella Kennedy joins The University of Alabama as an Assistant Professor of dance, having previously taught at the Ohio State University and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Highlights of their performing career include the first UK reconstruction of Martha Graham’s Primitive Mysteries, co-creating the street-ballet Thicker Than Blood with Aegis Live arts, and serving as rehearsal director for Nutshell Dance Company on tours of Norway and Germany. Their research into the historical and linguistic work of dance in society has been published in Dance Chronicle, on their popular dance blog The Headtail Connection, and presented at conferences worldwide, including the Dance Studies Association conference in Athens, Greece, the Between conference at New York University, and the Crip Futurities conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They are currently working with aerospace scientists and medical researchers to determine how dance can help train pilots to overcome vestibular disorientation. Fenella Kennedy is a passionate social partner dancer, and regular travels around the US to dance, teach and DJ for Blues and Fusion events.
Specializing in Ballet and Jazz, he is the Resident Choreographer and Artistic Director of AROVA Contemporary Ballet in Birmingham, Alabama. He has danced with Montgomery Ballet, Southern Danceworks, Alabama Ballet, AROVA, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet appearing in the US, Europe, Brazil, and Australia. He is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Ms. Salzer serves as Project Director for the Dancing Digital Project, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which works toward creating and facilitating more centralized, accessible, equitable, and sustainable dance resources online. The project’s progress blog can be accessed at dancingdigital.org. In addition, Ms. Salzer is an award-winning screen dance-maker whose recent creative research has focused on how a medium that separates the performer and viewer in space and time can paradoxically preserve and even heighten a sense of immediacy and inclusion. Recent projects include the window kind of opens by itself created with Anya Cloud, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Sara Shelton Mann, taisha paggett, and Kristianne Salcines; Full Responsibility created with Simon Ellis; and 1:1:2 created with Liz Burrit, Liam Clancy, and Tara Knight. Ms. Salzer also serves as Director of the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative, an interdisciplinary, arts-focused research engine driven by the interests of faculty from across the University of Alabama.
Specializing in Ballet and Modern, she has danced professionally with American Festival Ballet, Classical Ballet Theatre, Berkshire Ballet, Tandy Beal and Co., and Clay Taliaferro and Dancers. She has also served as ballet coach for Kennedy Center performances of The Next Ice Age and taught modern dance for the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive.