In a special weekly series, the College of Liberal Arts is featuring a faculty member from one of our 13 departments. We asked questions about why they are passionate about the subjects they study and teach, and how they found their path to CSU. See all “Faculty Friday” features here.
Assistant Professor of Ballet, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
1. Why do you teach and study dance? What do you like most about it?
Dance is my first language. The capacity for movement to reach across boundaries, and to provide opportunities for expression and connection drive my research, service, and pedagogy. Becoming an artist is a never-ending pursuit. Our continued physical, mental, and emotional development as humans from one millisecond to the next means a constant re-evaluation and re-negotiation of our practice. The formula that yielded a positive outcome yesterday may not produce the same results today. The necessity to attend to the moment, to the senses, and to unknown possibilities excites, terrifies, and inspires me.
2. Which class is your favorite to teach and why?
I most enjoy teaching dance technique courses. I love being a part of the artists’ daily journey – offering guidance through the sweat, stumbles, bruised toenails, and moments of personal discovery.
3. What did you want to be when you were little?
For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being a dancer. At age three, I announced, in less sophisticated terms, that I wanted to be a choreographer when I grew up. By age six, I was consumed by my love for dance. By age ten, I was training six days a week. At fourteen, I began my professional performance career, and at sixteen began teaching. It was not until my own undergraduate experience that I realized I wanted to teach in higher education.
4. How did you get to CSU?
I saw the job posting for an assistant professor specializing in Ballet and was shocked by how the language in the advertisement paralleled my own teaching philosophy. During the preliminary interview process, I asked what the search committee most wished to teach their students – their reply was “kindness.” I was struck by the sincerity of this reply, and upon meeting the inspiring faculty and exceptional staff, I was eager to be a part of CSU.
5. What is one thing students would be surprised to learn about you?
One of my favorite things about teaching at CSU is being able to perform alongside my students in concerts. I love cheering them on from the wings, and the vulnerability of performing with their watchful eyes on me. The moment I enter onstage I am overjoyed, but leading up to that entrance, sometimes even days before, I have terrible stage fright – heart racing, body immobilizing, panic. This performance anxiety is further exaggerated when public speaking is involved. Given that I spend every day dancing and speaking in front of my classes, I think they might be surprised to learn this.
Madeline Harvey recently spoke at the Great Conversations 2018 Kickoff event on the topic “Rigor and Imagination: the value of the liberal arts in a complex and polarized society.”