A Picture of Sarah Barry

Sarah M. Barry

Associate Chair of Dance
Director of MFA Dance Program
Professor of Dance


  • MFA, Modern Dance, University of Utah
  • CLMA, Integrated Movement Studies
  • BFA, Dance, Sam Houston State University

Research Areas

  • Choreography and Improvisation
  • Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies
  • Dance Pedagogy


Sarah M. Barry, MFA, CLMA, is a Professor of Dance and serves as Associate Chair of Dance and Director of the MFA Dance Program at the University of Alabama. She served as Department Chair from 2019-2022. Sarah also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Dance Education Organization as Secretary. She teaches contemporary technique, choreography, pedagogy, and Laban/Bartenieff Studies. She is the Artistic Director of Yonder Contemporary Dance Company, which has performed across the southeast region and internationally at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Sarah was honored to be a Leadership Board Faculty Fellow, as well as a recipient of UA’s prestigious Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award and the Druid City Arts Award for Dance Educator of the Year. Sarah’s choreography has been shown across the U.S. and internationally, including performances in Italy, Switzerland, and Scotland. She was awarded an NEA American Masterpieces grant and the Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant. Sarah’s screendances have been selected for FilmFest by Rogue Dancer, Dance Camera Istanbul, the Kalamata International Dance Festival, the Festival Miden in Greece, the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, the Utah Dance Film Festival, and Motion Captured in Texas. She also has publications in the Journal of Dance Education and the Journal of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science.

Representative Publications & Creative Works

Unstuck With You (2023) – Artistic Director for Yonder Contemporary Dance Company’s 35-minute collaborative dance concert choreographed by six of the eight company members. Inspired by images from the James Webb Space Telescope, Unstuck With You looks to the farthest reaches of the universe to see deeper into ourselves. Writer Jessica Lee Richardson lends her voice to this contemplative exploration of the similarities between interpersonal relationships and deep space. Set to a captivating soundscape by Michael Wall, Unstuck With You asks the audience to simultaneously consider our massive influence on one another and our extraordinarily small position in the universe. Performed at the Dance Foundation in Birmingham, the Buckman Performing Arts Center in Memphis, Lee High School of the Performing Arts in Huntsville, and the Emerald Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Richard Stamp from The Wee Review called the concert “An absorbing and invigorating show that ultimately celebrates the social gravity that draws us together.”

Dance film “wish you were here” (2020) was selected for screening at Dance Camera Pandemania hosted by Dance Camera Istanbul (2022) and FilmFest by Rogue Dancer (2021). Shot during the COVID-19 pandemic, this was a 6-minute screendance comprised of a collection of 13 solos performed by 11 dancers, edited to create the appearance of 2-4 dancers performing on stage simultaneously. The film aimed to represent the feeling of how virtual encounters both promise and fall short. The film used an original score, “soliloquy.” by Tyler Jones.

Transformations (2019) – Collaborated with sculptor Craig Wedderspoon and composer Dr. Trig Johnson to create a 20-minute dance in collaboration with 29 dancers. The dance focused on mathematical and spatial constructs of geometry and movement around a grid, as well as concepts of engaging with, tackling, and overcoming elements in our environment. The sculptures served as three dimensional objects for the dancers to rotate in all planes and move around the space as well as climb in, on, around, etc. with the music providing an aural environment to move through.

IRL (2018) – Artistic Director for Yonder Contemporary Dance Company’s 2018 production. Oversaw faculty and students in the Dance Program, School of Music, and Advertising and Public Relations Department to create a thought-provoking performance about navigating life in our increasingly intrusive and connected world. YCDC performed in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Florence, AL, Memphis, TN, and Atlanta, GA. The project culminated in a week of performances at the Emerald Theatre in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018. Reviewer Jim Ralley of Broadway Baby gave the performance 4 stars, stating “…the young @YonderDanceCo from Alabama managed to find the sweet spot between interactivity, playfulness and profundity…The inventiveness didn’t stop, and it led to moments of real beauty.”

Methods of Reflective Practice in a Service-Learning Dance Pedagogy Course (2017) – In redesigning a pedagogy course for college dance majors, Barry sought ways to provide practical teaching experience for students that coincided with making connections within the local community. Through research on best practices in service-learning courses, diverse methods of reflection proved key toward enhancing student experience beyond surface volunteerism by connecting the service (teaching dance to elementary students in this case) to broader and deeper personal learning. This article describes best practices from a survey of service-learning literature and shares reflective assignments specific to the author’s dance pedagogy course. Emphasis is placed on how the process of reflection aims to link course content to problem solving in real-world contexts, thus providing a deeper and more significant learning experience for students.

Barry, S. 2017. Methods of Reflective Practice in a Service-Learning Dance Pedagogy Course. Journal of Dance Education, 17, (23) July 3:124-130.

Dance film “there, again” selected for screening at A Tribute to Dance & Movement at the 21st Kalamata International Dance Festival, in Kalamata, Greece, Festival Miden in Kalamata, Greece, and the San Francisco Dance Film Festival in San Francisco, CA.

Dance film “so you want me always to paint flowers” selected for screening at the Utah Dance Film Festival, in Provo, UT, and Motion Captured, an evening of dance films, in Houston, TX.

Grants and Awards

  • $1,500 and $1,200 Alabama State Council on the Arts grant toward the regional tour of Yonder Contemporary Dance Company’s 2023 and 2018 concerts
  • $5,000 Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship
  • $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces grant award to restage Jose Limon’s “There is a Time”
  • $4,000 Research Grants Committee to create and present stage work “so you want me always to paint flowers…” in 46th International Choreographer’s Showcase
  • Leadership Board Faculty Fellow
  • Dance Educator Award from the Druid Arts
  • Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award granted by the National Alumni Association
  • Service-Learning Faculty Fellow