For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Valerie Ifill
Valerie Ifill
Associate Teaching Professor, Dance
Community Based Learning Coordinator

Contact:

Location:

MacAlister Hall, 2024A

Valerie Ifill is an active dance artist, educator and researcher interested in the intersection of dance and community, making dance education more accessible to communities of color and embodied storytelling. Valerie is a collaborative dance artist and Associate Teaching Professor of Dance at Drexel University.

Valerie is invested in university-community dance education initiatives and using Africanist perspectives to support university dance curriculum. Her written research is centered on university-community partnerships; race and power in education; and making dance accessible to all. Invested in making dance more accessible to communities of color, Valerie has founded and directed university-community dance programs at Drexel University through Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships in Philadelphia, PA, and at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. Certified to teach Inside-Out Prison Exchange courses, Valerie also teaches classes for groups of university students and incarcerated citizens. Black Girls STEAMing through Dance is a collaborative project making Dance, Code, and Making with electronic textiles accessible to 7-12-year-old Black girls. This research has been presented nationally and internationally, as well as being highlighted in TED-X Philadelphia (2019) as innovative work making STEAM accessible to people of color.

Through her creative work, Valerie strives to tell non-linear stories supported by values of community building while creating spaces for marginalized people. This process-based creative work is expressed through leading process-based self-reflective movement workshops on identity; bringing interactive dance experiences into elementary and middle schools in urban communities; creating work for the concert stage; and creating interdisciplinary site-specific performances for non-traditional dance audiences.

Collaborative interests have led to multiple projects including founding IfillDance Co./LAB and co-founding TRANSForm Dance Collective, a cross-country collective focused on contemporary discourses on and through the art of dance.

Valerie’s research has been presented at the South Carolina Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference, the American College Dance Association festivals, International Conference on Urban Education, National Arts Education Association conferences, Blumenthal Performing Arts Educational Lunch & Learn series, the Journal of Dance Education, and National Dance Education Organization conferences.

Valerie earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Oregon, completed the Independent Study Program at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a Dance minor from Kent State University.

www.valifilldance.com

Master of Fine Arts, Dance from the University of Oregon
Certificate, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Bachelor of Business Administration, Kent State University

Publications and Research Presentations

Refereed Book Chapters

Allen-Handy, A., Ifill, V., Schaar, R., Rogers, M., & Woodard, M. (2020). Black girls STEAMing through Dance: Inspiring STEAM literacies, STEAM identities, and positive self- concept. In K. Thomas & D. Huffman (Eds.). Challenges and opportunities for transforming from STEM to STEAM education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global

Allen-Handy, A., & Ifill, V. (under review). Decolonizing dance education for African American students in urban communities: A university-community partnership. In J.L. Moore & C.W. Lewis (Eds). African American students in urban schools: Critical issues and solutions for achievement 2 Edition.

Refereed Journal Articles

Allen-Handy, A., Ifill, V., Schaar, R.Y., Rogers, M., Woodard, M. (2021). The Emerging Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies of Dance Educators in an Urban STEAM After-School Program for Black Girls. Journal of Urban Learning, Research, and Teaching.

Ifill, V. (2020). Dance Pedagogy Turned Inside Out: The Development of an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Course and Relevance in a University Dance Program. The Journal of Dance Education. DOI: 10.1080/15290824.2020.1747072.

Moffett, A., Sorensen, G., & Ifill, V. (2015). Transitioning from School to Career: I’ve Got My MFA… Now What?. Journal of Dance Education, 15:1, 39-43, DOI: 10.1080/15290824.2015.961193

Oral Presentations

(Peer-reviewed)

National

Schaar, R., Allen-Handy, A., Rogers, M., Ifill, V. (2020, October). Making Space for Black Girls: Embodied Learning in a Transdisciplinary Community. Paper presentation at the annual National Dance Educators Organization Conference. Virtual.

Dozier, K., Schaar, R., Allen-Handy, A., Rogers, M., Ifill, V., Woodard, M. (2020, October). Vulnerability and Understanding: Students and Faculty Learning Together Across Disciplines to Lead a transdisciplinary Afterschool Dance Program. Panel presentation at the annual National Dance Educators Organization Conference. Virtual.

Schaar, R., Allen-Handy, A., Rogers, M., Ifill, V. (2020, April – COVID 19 cancellation). Supporting African American girls STEAM identities and positive self-concept through dance, design, and coding. Paper accepted at the American Education Research Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Allen-Handy, A., Ifill, V., Schaar, R., & Rogers, M. (2020, April – COVID 19 cancellation). Dancin’, steamin’, and dreamin’: How Black girls negotiate identity and future selves in a dance infused STEAM after school program. Paper accepted at the American Education Research Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Ifill, V. (2020, March – COVID 19 cancellation). Beyond the University: Lessons Learned from University-Community Dance Partnerships. Paper accepted at the 2020 NEXT Conference, Akron, OH.

Schaar, R. & Ifill, V. (2019, March). Black Girls STEAMing Through Dance: Examining Identity and Self Concept. Paper accepted for the National Art Education Association Convention, Boston, MA.

Schaar, R. & Ifill, V. (2019, March). Identity and Self Concept Through Design, Making, Technology and Dance: A STEAM Based Approach. Research Commission Pre-Conference for the for the National Art Education Association Convention, Boston, MA.

Ifill, V., & Allen-Handy, A. (2017, October). Cultivating access and equity through dance education: A university-community partnership. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pursuing Extraordinary Outcomes in Public Education National Conference. Charlotte, NC.

Barr, S., Giguere, M. & Ifill, V. (2015, October). Extending the Artistry: Examining the Artistic Process in Community-based Practices. Paper presentation at the annual National Dance Educators Organization Conference. Phoenix, AZ.

Ifill, V., Moffett, A. & Sorensen, G. (2013, October). I’ve Got My M.F.A.... Now What?. Paper presentation at the annual National Dance Educators Organization Conference. Miami, FL.

Ifill, V. & Richards, S. (2011, October).  Music and Dance Collaborations in Education. Paper presentation presented at the annual National Dance Educators Organization Conference. Minneapolis, MN.        

International

Allen-Handy, A., Ifill, V., Rogers, M., & Schaar, R. (2018, November). Black girls STEAMing through Dance: A Transdisciplinary Collaboration. Paper presented at the International Conference on Urban Education. Nassau, Bahamas.

Invited Talks and Panels

Ifill, V. (2020, May – cancelled due to COVID 19) Black Girls STEAMing Through Dance: Using code to make creative connections to be presented at CodeHopper. Akron, OH.

Harris, D., Ifill, V., Lipman, T. Earley, S. & Earley, D. (2019, April). Healing Art of Dance. Plenary panel presentation at the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) Conference 2019: Arts & Trauma. Philadelphia, PA. 

Schaar, R. & Ifill, V. (2019, March). Black Girls STEAMING Through Dance. Westphal College of Media Arts and Design All College Research Symposium. Philadelphia, PA.

Rogers, M., Allen-Handy, A., Schaar, R. & Ifill, V. (2019, February). Black Girls STEAMING Through Dance, Drexel University Expressive and Creative interaction Technologies STEAMshop Symposium. Philadelphia, PA.

Schaar, R., Rogers, M., Ifill, V. & Allen-Handy, A. (2018, May). Black Girls STEAMING Through Dance. Drexel University Games, Artificial intelligence and Media Systems Center Brown Bag Lecture Series. Philadelphia, PA.

Ifill, V. (2013, June). Get to Know The Lion King. Public presentation at the Lunch and Learn Lecture Series. Blumenthal Performing Arts Educational Program. Booth Playhouse. Charlotte, NC.

Ifill, V. (2012, May). Alvin Ailey Dance Experience. Public presentation at the Lunch and Learn Lecture Series. Blumenthal Performing Arts Educational Program. Booth Playhouse. Charlotte, NC.

Ifill, V. (2012, April). Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly With Me. Public presentation at the Lunch and Learn Lecture Series. Blumenthal Performing Arts Educational Program. Booth Playhouse. Charlotte, NC.

Ifill, V. (2011, October). Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story. Public presentation at the Lunch and Learn Lecture Series. Blumenthal Performing Arts Educational Program. Booth Playhouse. Charlotte, NC.      


My research explores community-based learning, identity development and representation in dance. Embodied processing and storytelling are tools I use to examine how we can be more connected through movement and how movement can express a range of human experiences.

My research can be broken down into three areas; written work, collaborative in-practice work and creative projects. These areas are highly process focused and inform one another. My written work is centered around university-community partnerships; race and power in education; and making dance education more accessible. With collaboration at the core of all of my work, I prefer to work in pairs and communities. These community-focused values extend into my research. In addition to traditional research practices, I’ve adopted non-linear practices involving ritual work, writing labs, storytelling and embodied processing.

A priority in my work is to amplify the voices that are often left out of the conversation in dance and in society. Through my work, I aim to make space and advocate for people to engage in this field of which so many are inherently connected while examining power distribution and encouraging equity.

Sponsored Research and Grants

Black Girls STEAMing through Dance (Co-PI)
Funding Source: U.S. Department of Education West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood Grant.
June 2017- May 2022

The Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships: Dance at the Dornsife Center
Funding Source: The Philadelphia Cultural Fund
June 2019-May 2020

Black girls STEAMing through Dance: Examining STEAM literacies, STEAM identities, and Self-concept (Co-PI)
Funding Source: Drexel University ExCITe Center Seed Grant
June 2017-May 2018

Black Girls Steaming Through Dance Program
Funding Source: Westphal College of Media Arts and Design Mini-Grant
June 2017-May 2018

Hip Hop: A Fresh Approach to Understanding Dances of the World
Funding Source: Winthrop University Global Learning Initiative. Winthrop University
June 2012-May 2013


Creative Activity

(selected works)

Performer
dying and dying and dying (2018)
MBDance – choreography by Maria Bauman-Morales University of Rochester. Rochester, NY

dying and dying and dying (2017)
MBDance – choreography by Maria Bauman-Morales Gibney Dance. New York, NY

dying and dying and dying, excerpt (2016)
MBDance – choreography by Maria Bauman-Morales
BAAD Ass Women’s Festival
Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD). Bronx New York, NY.

Capillary Power (2015)
Transform Dance Collective concert “Seed” Choreography by Valerie Ifill, Eric Mullis and dancers University of Oregon. Eugene, OR

Quietly, Quickly (2015)
Transform Dance Collective concert “Seed” Choreography by Somebodies Dance Theatre University of Oregon. Eugene, OR

Ding! (2015)
Transform Dance Collective – Choreography by Valerie Ifill, Marcie Mamura, A.T. Moffett & Alexandra Taylor Never Before, Never Again Festival
Triskelion Arts. Brooklyn, NY

Choreographer
Lost + Found (2019)
Fall into Dance – Choreography Valerie Ifill and dancers University of Akron. Akron, OH

Beneath the Surface...Wash Away (2018)
FreshDance Ensemble - Choreography Valerie Ifill and dancers Drexel University. Philadelphia, PA

On Common Ground (2017)
Drexel Dance Ensemble & Dance at the Dornsife Center – Choreography by Valerie Ifill and dancers Pearlstein Gallery. Philadelphia, PA

Lines Redrawn (2014)
Choreography by Valerie Ifill, Eric Mullis and dancers Ulysses Festival
Charlotte Ballet. Charlotte, NC

Picture Window (2013)
Choreography by Valerie Ifill and dancers Chance and Choice
Atlanta Fringe Festival. Atlanta, GA

Yet to Settle (2013)
Transform Dance Collective
Choreography by Valerie Ifill and Herbert Washington and dancers

Tek Box Theater

Cowels Center. Minneapolis, MN