About Us

Creative Activity/Research

Faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance work in a variety of fields. The following are fields and creative activities in which our dance faculty have distinguished specializations. Read about the creative activity and research of our theatre faculty, too.

Sarah M. Barry

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.

Qianping Guo

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.

Lawrence M. Jackson

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.

Fenella Kennedy

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.

Jamorris Rivers

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.

Rebecca Salzer

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.

Rita Snyder

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.