Colleen Barnes is currently the Area Chair and Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Akron’s School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration, where she choreographs and teaches a range of dance-related subjects. Since she started working at the University of Akron in fall of 2021, Colleen has co-authored the NASD (National Association of Schools of Dance) self-study, rewritten the curricula for the BA and BFA programs, and collaborated with School of Music faculty on multiple projects which have so far included the UA Lyric Opera, the UA Steel Drum Band, and the UA Concert Choir (twice).
Colleen has worked at the Joffrey Ballet School since 2009, serving in both faculty and administrative roles. She serves as the Artistic Director of Joffrey South and Joffrey Colorado summer intensives, where she finds great joy in mentoring emergent artists and arts administrators. During audition season, Colleen tours domestically and abroad recruiting and teaching master classes for the Joffrey Ballet School. From 2019-2021, Colleen worked with New Jersey City University and Joffrey Ballet School to develop the curricula of their BFA program partnership according to NASD and state standards. In addition to Joffrey Ballet School, she has worked at the University of Georgia’s Department of Dance, the University of Utah, Ballet West Academy, and Allen Ballet School (China), among others.
Her scholarly research encompasses ballet’s history of exclusion, particularly as it relates to 19th-century ballet and colonialism. Upon this foundational research, Colleen’s current scholarly interests intersect feminism and gender with ballet culture. Colleen is also researching equity in dance curricula to create more inclusive, supportive, and relevant experience for all students.
This research drives her teaching practice, which encourages students to find autonomy and joy through the modality of ballet. Colleen has presented her research at the Dance Studies Association conference (2022 in Vancouver & 2018 in Malta), as well as the CORPS de Ballet conference at Florida State University (2019).
Colleen danced professionally with the Dayton Ballet, Ballet Pensacola, and Dance Now! Miami, touring both domestically and abroad, in addition to free-lancing with the late David Holmes in British Columbia. She holds a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, and an MFA in Ballet from the University of Utah. Colleen will complete her graduate certificate in Women’s Studies through the University of Akron in 2024.