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Dr. Miriam Giguere and Professor Valerie Ifill

September 15, 2015

As Dance Program Director, Dr. Miriam Giguere created our superb Dance program over the course of a decade, which now includes a major, a minor, two student performing ensembles and exceptional community engagements. Dr. Giguere has been appointed Department Head of Performing Arts, overseeing the Music, Dance and Theatre programs as well as ensembles that serve more than 2,000 students from across the University each year. Professor Valerie Ifill, a researcher, dancer and choreographer who is deeply engaged in the University’s community initiatives, has been appointed Dance Program Director.

Dr. Giguere has taught at Drexel for 25 years and has toured extensively as a professional dancer. Her design of our innovative dance program focuses on preparing students for non-performance employment outcomes in the dance field, including dance and movement physical therapy and dance education, as well as for career outcomes as dancers and choreographers. While at Drexel, Dr. Giguere has created student-community engagement programs including with Philadelphia public schools and the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy. Through her numerous articles, book chapters, and her textbook, Beginning Modern Dance, as well as speaking engagements and peer-reviewed or invited national and international conference presentations, she has made significant and meaningful research contributions as to why and how the arts and creativity are central to education. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education, both from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a doctorate from Temple University Boyer College of Music & Dance.

Dr. Giguere recently spearheaded the successful submission of a $281,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, which will bring acclaimed French choreographer Boris Charmatz to Drexel in 2016 for a participatory performance of his renowned work, Levée des conflits (Suspension of Conflicts), alongside a wide-reaching series of public engagements.

Professor Valerie Ifill 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. Ifill’s written and studio-based research for the college dance student is based in sensory-driven improvisational work and the codified Horton technique, and she has presented her research or workshops at conferences around the country.

She is currently building a dance program at Drexel’s Dornsife Center that is engaging dozens of children and their parents from West Philadelphia neighborhoods with Drexel Dance students in impactful ways.