Faculty and Alumni Earn Dance Educator of the Year Awards

Published: December 17, 2020 | Author: Ashley H Pollock | Read Time: 4 minutes

SUU faculty and alumni alike received the three 2020 teaching awards presented by the Utah Dance Education Organization (UDEO). Alexandra Bradshaw-Yerby, Assistant Professor of Dance at SUU, was awarded the Higher Education Educator of the Year. Courtney Pearce, SUU alumnus, received the Secondary Dance Educator of the Year, Courtni Giles, SUU Dance Education alumnus received the Elementary Dance Educator of the Year Award.

Alexandra Bradshaw-Yerby, Assistant Professor of Dance at SUU

Alexandra Bradshaw-Yerby came to SUU in the Fall 2019 and is the Dance Education Director. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington and was a featured performing artist with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.

Bradshaw-Yerby spoke of teaching in the dance education program at SUU, “I want my students to have a firm foundational understanding in biomechanics and alignment principles. They should have a global perspective about dance technique, forms of dance, the value of the historical trajectory behind different forms, and how and why they are important. The third thing is that these students have an awareness and education in the professional dance field. It is so important for my students to be learned in the progressive pedagogical theories and practices. They are bringing those experiences into the classroom so they can assist different types of learners with different type of learning styles.”

Courtney Pearce graduated from SUU with a degree in Dance Education in 2006 and has been an educator for 12 years at Crimson Cliffs High School and Desert Hills High School. She has served on countless boards and in many leadership positions all while serving the dancers in her community.Courtney Pearce, Dance Educator at Crimson Cliffs High School and Desert Hills High School

Pearce explained why she chose the dance program at SUU, “I thought I was going to become a vet and dance my way through it. One semester in and I was hooked on the dance department. I had found my family away from home in the students and more so in the faculty. The faculty was tough, yet encouraging. They really took the time to push me and get to know me as an individual. They looked for the things I needed, even if I did not want it. I saw myself grow in confidence and it came from the support of the department.”

Courtni Giles graduated from SUU in 1996 with degrees in Dance Education and French Education. She was the first student to graduate from SUU with a dance education degree. Giles currently serves as a Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP) dance educator for the Washington County School District. She teaches at eight different elementary schools in special education and dance and has taught for 24 years. In her current position with BTSALP, she created a new movement program for the severely disabled which she calls “Art in Motion”. It is an adaptive program which helps her students to move in creative and holistic ways.

Courtni Giles, Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP) dance educator for the Washington County School DistrictOf her time at SUU, Giles shared, “The education program that SUU is thoughtful, researched, and provides a space in which future educators can succeed. The dance education program was able to give me the resources and practical information to start my career as a high school dance teacher. That core information provided me the foundation to successfully teach.”

She was drawn to SUU as a university because of the opportunity and scholarships that were available. The faculty kept her here with the individualized education that she was able to receive and the smaller class sizes. Giles’ daughter is currently attending SUU and those same opportunities are available to her today.

Congratulations to these outstanding dance educators and the legacy they share with their students. We are honored to claim them as Southern Utah University Thunderbirds. If you are interested in the dance education program at SUU, please visit www.suu.edu/pva/ta/dance-education.html.

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 26 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, music and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring nearly 800 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit www.suu.edu/pva.

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