Associate Professor Uses Dance as Textbook

Nicole Stanton, associate professor of dance, taught dance for 10 years at the Ohio State University before coming to Wesleyan this fall.
Posted 11/20/07
Nicole Stanton has joined the Department of Dance this fall as an associate professor.

Stanton brings professional training in modern dance techniques, African techniques, improvisation, choreography, somatics, history and theory of dance to Wesleyan.

She studied contemporary dance at the Center for New Dance Development in Arnhem, Holland; African dance and drum at the Leopold Sedor Senghor Cultural Center in Dakar, Senegal; and received two bachelor of arts in dance and foreign civilizations and languages at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio; and earned a master of fine arts in dance from Ohio State University.

Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Dance, Stanton spent 10 years as a faculty member at the Ohio State University. There, she served as chair of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Dance; chair of the Dance Education Committee; chair of the Technique Area Committee; and member of the College of the Arts and Sciences Honors Committee; and the University Undergraduate Faculty Admissions Committee.

“While I truly loved the work I did there, Wesleyan offered such a unique and innovative environment that I felt compelled to join this community,” she says. “I was drawn to this program in part for the strength of its faculty. They are at once creative, socially conscious, politically active and intellectually demanding. I believe that I can grow with, and contribute to the work this Dance Department does.”

Stanton has choreographed performances for herself and others. In May, her work was performed by 25 Ohio State students at the Capitol Theater in Columbus, and in 2006, she presented her own work “Torch” at the Martin Luther King Arts Complex in Columbus. She also worked as a professional dancer at several companies including the Bebe Miller Company’s Columbus Working Group; the Thiarra Sylla’s Afro-Cuban Dance Group; the Idrissa Dance Retrospective West African Inspired Dance Company; and the Thoissane West African Dance Company.

Off the dance floor, Stanton has presented “An investigation of the teaching/learning of contemporary dance technique” for the Society of Dance History Scholars/Congress on Research in Dance 2007 Conference in Paris, France and “Utilizing New technologies for Documenting African Dance Forms” for the 2007 Visualizing African Conference in Athens, Ohio. She was also the director of the African American Essential Book Project for the Jefferson Center for Leadership and Governance in Columbus in 2006.

This semester, Stanton is teaching Dance Composition and Modern Dance III. So far, she’s enjoying working with the young Wesleyan dancers.

“The students’ intelligence, thoughtfulness and creative energy are very inspiring, but moreover, I value the depth of engagement one can have with students in a smaller, liberal arts environment,” she says.

Stanton says she admires how dance crosses several curriculums on campus.

“I am excited by the ways in which the arts infuse the whole curriculum—people at Wesleyan dance,” she says. “I can think of no other institution that frequently utilizes dance as a common text for its students.”

Stanton resides in Middletown and enjoys gardening and spending time with her four dogs.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor