NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center




Science of dance focus of summer institute at NMSU

Novice and experienced dancers, along with some of the world’s leading dance scientists and educators, will converge at New Mexico State University next month.


Man dancing
Renowned choreographer and teacher Bill Evans will bring his Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance to New Mexico State University in July. (Courtesy photo by Jim Dusen)

NMSU’s Department of Kinesiology and Dance, which is based in the College of Education, will host the 41st annual Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance from July 20-26. This institute will include two tracks, one for pre-professional dancers in high school through college and one for dance educators.

Following the institute will be the International Dance Science and Pedagogy Conference.

“We will have some of the world’s most outstanding dance scientists, Peggy Hackney and Karen Clippinger, who are leaders in our field, at the conference, and we have other people from across the nation who have registered as presenters who are also leading dance scientists and pedagogists in the field,” Evans said. “It’s so exciting for them to all be in the same place at the same time, so it’s thrilling to have those people interacting with each other.”

As part of this conference, the first Desert Dance Festival will include performances and roundtable discussions that will be open to the public. Choreographers and performers will present their dances at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts. The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. July 26-28. The cost for a festival pass is $30 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger for all three shows. Individual tickets are $15. The dance pieces selected for the festival performances each went through an adjudicated process.

NMSU dance professor Debra Knapp, a former member of the Bill Evans Dance Company who is helping to organize the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance at NMSU, said she is thrilled with the opportunities the student institute and dance festival will provide to dance students and educators.

“Hopefully this conference will continue here and become the premier dance science-based conferences in the world,” Knapp said.

Evans said he accepted Knapp’s invitation to host his institute at NMSU because of the university’s Kinesiology and Dance department, which emphasizes the importance of the science of dance.

Evans said participants can expect to walk away from these events with new inspiration and knowledge about some of the latest information regarding dance science research.

While about 100 people will be participating in these events, Evans said he hopes several more in the Las Cruces community will attend the public events and show their support and love of dance.

“It’s going to be a wonderful cross-section of work by professional choreographers and emerging choreographers, most of whom are still students,” Evans said. “Last time I performed in Las Cruces, I felt the audience was very responsive, supportive and enthusiastic.”

Among the performers at the festival are NMSU dance students Jermey Edmonston, Colette Kerwick, Dantong Lu, Cristina Segovia, Amanda Uranga and Lakken Medina. Dancers from El Paso, California, New York, Utah, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Michigan are also expected to perform.

For more information about the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance, visit http://www.billevansdance.org/. The deadline to register is July 1. For Dance Desert Festival tickets, contact Knapp at 575-646-4079.