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Faculty Focus: Dr. Miriam Giguere

January 22, 2009

Dr. Miriam Giguere, Program Director of our new Dance major, grew up with dance in her blood. Performing everything from ballet to modern to folk, she has "always felt that the discipline chose her." Miriam studied and performed while at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a BA in psychology and an MS in Education. Upon graduation, Miriam became a reading specialist. Three years later she left this work to pursue her passion and devoted herself fulltime to dancing as a company member of Ann Vachon/Dance Conduit, South Street Dance Company and the Terry Beck Troupe. As a dancer, Miriam performed extensively in the United States and throughout Europe.

Miriam pursues an active research agenda. She views dance as an expressive medium and important cognitive activity, focusing her research on children's creative processes and cognitive activity while dancing. Miriam presents research with regularity at the National Dance Education Organization's annual conferences. She was chosen as one of only two Americans invited to guest-teach at the Tainan University Summer Institute in Taiwan in 2007. As a dance professor, Miriam directs and produces the Drexel University Dance Ensemble and teaches many of the courses in both the Dance major and the minor.

Early on as a member of Ann Vachon/Dance Conduit, Miriam met Jan Schleiger, then the director of Drexel's dance ensemble. In 1990, when Ms. Schleiger retired, Miriam was hired to succeed her. Miriam worked part-time with the Drexel dance ensemble from 1990-1997, growing it from 12 to 40 dancers, and she joined our faculty full time in 1997. By then, students in the ensemble wanted a formal dance major. The merger of Drexel University and Hahnemann University in 1998 provided a necessary component for the dance major to develop. Miriam asked the faculty of Hahnemann and its highly respected Dance/Movement Therapy Program (now in the College of Nursing and Health Professions) to partner in creating a dance major which would track undergraduates into the master's program in dance therapy. It took Dr. Giguere nine years to bring her vision for a major to life, writing and revising the curriculum and adding a dance education option. She was a tireless advocate working to win support from the College and University. Ultimately, she secured funding and a space to locate a new dance studio and the first class of Drexel Dance majors began this fall.