Tennessee’s Best Summer Dance Program

Dance is a means of self-awareness and a fundamental form of communication as well as a performance art. Students of an age and readiness for the Governor’s School for the Arts are exposed to an intensive multifaceted program within a community of interdisciplinary arts professionals and aspirants – a stimulating environment which facilitates learning.

The Governor’s School Dance Experience

In addition to the technical benefits of an intensive dance program, the Governor’s School experience is intended to:

  • 1. Engage the imagination
  • 2. Encourage intellectual curiosity and creative thinking
  • 3. Improve self-discipline
  • 4. Enhance decision making particularly with regard to career choices

Governor’s School students learn that dance is inherent to our heritage and world and that of others around us. Students are encouraged to perceive, evaluate, and understand dance as a conveyor of culture. The program strives to integrate and enrich the balanced development of the whole person.

Selection Process

Applicants will participate in a two-hour dance class — including ballet and modern dance — as their audition. Girls should bring pink tights, pink ballet shoes, and point shoes. The modern section of the class will be in bare feet, so wear tights that can be adjusted for this part of the audition. Hair should be properly secured off the neck, preferably in a bun. No leg warmers, sweatshirts, or baggy plastic pants. Boys should bring white t-shirts, black tights, and appropriate dance shoes. Students must perform at an intermediate or advanced level, and must demonstrate a high level of sustained interest and involvement in dance. Please refer to the application for more specific criteria.

Dance Chair

Laurie Merriman

Laurie Merriman, Professor of Dance and Assistant Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University, earned her B.F.A. (double major) in Ballet & Modern Dance from Texas Christian University and her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She began her professional training at The National Academy of Dance in Champaign as a young ballet dancer and eventually became a scholarship student with the Joffery Ballet School and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Laurie’s dual respect and love for both ballet and contemporary dance has afforded her the opportunity to perform and learn the works of many great artists in the field such as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Stephen Koester, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey, Vaslav Nijinsky, Michel Fokine, Marius Petipa, Robert North, and Frederick Ashton (among many others).

Laurie has been the recipient of various grants and fellowships for her work in choreography, teaching, and research. Her choreographic work has been performed by the Columbus Dance Theatre, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre, the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and presented at the Southwest Regional Ballet Festival, the Harold Washington Library Theatre in Chicago, Illinois State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Winona State University, the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, several American College Dance Festivals, and beyond. Since 1988, Laurie”s teaching focus at Illinois State University has been in the areas of ballet and modern dance technique, Improvisation, dance composition, and dance pedagogy. Laurie has also served as Artistic Director for Illinois State Dance Theatre for the past 20 years and remains teaching at the high school level for University High School in the area of dance.

She has served on the National Board of the American College Dance Festival, Illinois State Board of Education Dance Content Advisory Committee, adjudicator for the Springfield Area Arts Council, panelist for a variety of learning symposiums in the arts and in general education, ballet mistress for Twin Cities Ballet, Executive Director of Illinois Summer School for the Arts, Chair of the Illinois Dance Association, adjudicator for Beloit College, panelist for the Illinois Arts Council Artist-In-Residency program, and the Dance Chair for Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.


Gregory T. Merriman

Dance Faculty

Gregory T. Merriman is a 1983 graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Classical... read more

Gregory T. Merriman

Dance Faculty

Gregory T. Merriman is a 1983 graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Classical Ballet performance.Of the many he has studied with, Fernando Shaffenburg, Claire Duncan, Clara Cravey, Bill Martin-Viscount and Maria Grandy have been the most influential. Gregory began his early dancing career in 1977 with the Houston Allegro Ballet under the direction of Emma Mae Horn and Glenda Brown.

He was a scholarship student under the direction of Ben Stevenson at the Houston Ballet Academy and later became an apprentice to the Houston Ballet Company.Offered the Brown and Nordan Scholarships at TCU, Gregory joined the Fort Worth Ballet, dancing many of the classics as a frequent partner to Karen Schaffenburg. He was also a principle dancer with the Fort Worth Opera Ballet, under the direction of Marina Svetlova and a regular guest artist with regional companies throughout the Southwest.

General McArthur Hambrick

Dance Faculty

General McArthur Hambrick is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University, with a... read more

General McArthur Hambrick

Dance Faculty

General McArthur Hambrick is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. General also studied dance at American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. School. He was a soloist with the Fort Worth Ballet, and Hartford Ballet Companies, Dancers Unlimited in Dallas Texas and Minnesota Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, under the artistic direction of Lise Houlton, where he was awarded the 1999 McKnight Fellowship for his achievements in the dance community. He was also the recipient of the 2001 Natalie Skelton Achievement Award and the 2001 Wyoming Arts Council Performing Arts Fellowship.  

His musical theatre credits include both the Broadway and National touring companies of Cats, Miss Saigon, and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway he appeared in the revival of Martha Clarke’s critically acclaimed, Garden of Earthly Delights. General also toured with 25th Anniversary Tour of A Chorus Line. Regional credits include Swing, Once On This Island, Jesus Christ Superstar, The King and I and many others. He appeared as guest vocalist along with Della Reese on the PBS special; With Ozzie and Ruby: Life Is. Professor Hambrick served as director and choreographer of the former Centennial Singers, a musical theatre touring group, from the University of Wyoming. General is also the founder and director of the Joyful Noise Choral Ensemble of Fort Worth, Texas. Most recently he received his Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Washington. He is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at West Virginia University.

Daniel Karasik

Dance Faculty

Daniel Karasik grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Through experiencing a multitude of different types of cultural and artistic experiences,... read more

Daniel Karasik

Dance Faculty

Daniel Karasik grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Through experiencing a multitude of different types of cultural and artistic experiences, Karasik developed a profound appreciation for individual and collaborative art-forms at an early age. At 17, he began his formal training in dance –– his thorough characterizations and sensitivity as a partner led him to study on scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, the Nutmeg Conservatory and the School of Ballet Florida.

In 2007, Daniel graduated from Point Park University, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. He has danced professionally in Pittsburgh, with the Georgia Ballet and the Dayton Ballet.

As a dancer, Karasik has most enjoyed roles in George Balanchineʼs Serenade, Karen Russo-Burkeʼs and Dermot Burkeʼs The Nutcracker, Agnes DeMilleʼs Rodeo, Christopher Flemmingʼs The Whoʼs Tommy, Steven Millsʼ Five Flights Up, Stuart Sebastianʼs Dracula and Susan Stromanʼs CONTACT.

Currently, Karasik is the Artistic Director of the Morgantown Ballet Company and works as ballet faculty at Morgantown Dance School and Point Park Universityʼs Conservatory for the Performing Arts; he also teaches and choreographs for the universityʼs International Summer Dance program. He is a frequent guest teacher in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and has taught for American College Dance Festival and the National High School Dance Festival.

Karasikʼs choreography, la Carte du Tendre, was sent to the American College Dance Festival in Boston, MA, and chosen for the Gala. He has collaborated with the Duquesne Contemporary String Ensemble to create a work entitled Orpheus. In 2011, Karasik set Cha, dʼAmour for Dayton Ballet's annual Nutcracker Ball, and was one of three choreographers chosen from a national search to choreograph for the Dayton Ballet's final performance of their season. That work, Fixed Action, was awarded the People’s Choice Award.

In 2011, Karasik premiered the Dayton Arts Project, a company that seamlessly integrated art forms, such as choreography, dance, film, installation art, new and live music, and mixed media in exhibition.

Having more than 40 commissioned works, Karasik’s choreography has been reviewed as “grace and beauty personified,” having “intellectual glamor” and being “a wonderfully effective series of dance essays.” Most recently his work Volumes, was presented in a show named on of “seven Transportive Dance Programs of 2016.” He has produced works for Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, Dayton Arts Project, Dayton Ballet, Morgantown Ballet Company, Dance Conservatory of Pittsburgh, Point Park University, West Virginia State Dance Festival and West Virginia University.

Donna Carver

Dance Faculty

Donna Carver began her first stage appearance at the age of 4 performing in a stage production of “Pinocchio” in... read more

Donna Carver

Dance Faculty

Donna Carver began her first stage appearance at the age of 4 performing in a stage production of “Pinocchio” in her hometown of Tampa, Florida. Her formal dance training began at the age of 7 and she proceeded to dance with two civic ballet companies during her student years training under Alpheus Koon of American Ballet Theater and Gerald Pascual of the Chicago Lyric Opera. She went to New York City to train under such ballet luminaries as Vladimir Dokoudovsky at the Ballet Arts School, Maria Nevelska and Vladimir Konstantinov at Carnegie Hall Studios, Anatole Vilzak at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and David Howard at the David Howard School of Ballet. She also trained in Toronto at the National Ballet School (now School of the National Ballet of Canada) with school Principal Betty Oliphant (who was also a guest teacher at the Bolshoi Ballet) and Margaret Saul.

While performing professionally with the Florida Ballet Company, she trained with Jean Spear and the great Frederic Franklin. She passed examinations of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, London, England – Cecchetti Method. In Nashville, Ms. Carver founded Tennessee Dance Theater and was its Artistic Director and resident choreographer before it became the famous modern company. Tennessee Dance Theater presented the first full-length ballet ever presented in the city when it premiered its production of “Giselle” in 1989, and sponsored the first ever showcase of local choreographers during its annual Choreographer’s Showcases. Tennessee Dance Theater paved the way for other professional dance companies in the city including Nashville City Ballet, which is now known as Nashville Ballet. She also served as the Secretary and Teacher Representative to the Board of Directors for Tennessee Association of Dance as well as a judge for several talent and dance competitions in and around the city. She taught ballet technique classes in several local dance studios including Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood, Nashville Ballet and The Dance Center a school she owned and operated. She also worked as a Musical Theater Director for Circle Players (the oldest community-based theatre company in Middle Tennessee) for such musicals presented at TPAC as “Brigadoon”, “Camelot” and “Hello, Dolly”.

Perhaps her biggest contribution to the dance community was the creation of The Ballet Book Student Workbooks, a student workbook series that Ms. Carver spent over ten years researching, compiling and writing. The series is designed for a program of written study for the ballet student. These workbooks have been used as textbooks in public, Magnet, and Performing Arts High Schools, private schools, boarding schools, community colleges, universities and ballet schools around the country. Continuing to share her knowledge with dance students at GSFTA since 2013, she is very excited to be joining the faculty again this year.

Rubén Graciani

Dance Faculty

Rubén Graciani began his artistic career as a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he... read more

Rubén Graciani

Dance Faculty

Rubén Graciani began his artistic career as a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he majored in Modern Dance. After receiving his high school degree, Mr. Graciani was awarded a scholarship to attend The Juilliard School in New York City. In addition to the Juilliard program, Mr. Graciani studied on scholarship with several major New York dance companies, including the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Mr. Graciani completed his studies at the State University of New York – Purchase College, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While attending Purchase, Mr. Graciani was invited to perform in three International Festivals of Dance staged in Taiwan and China. Mr. Graciani was also invited to join the Kevin Wynn Collection, a New York based Modern Dance Company. After graduation, Rubén joined the Mark Morris Dance Group as a contract performer.

Mr. Graciani’s five-year affiliation with the company resulted in national and international tours. He also performed as a founding member of bopi’s black sheep/dances by kraig patterson. After ten years as a member of the New York City dance community, Rubén began graduate school at the University of Maryland – College Park. While there he presented nine works of choreography for the Maryland Dance Ensemble, and premiered two works at a self-produced concert with Connie Fink and Jennifer Dorsey. His M.F.A. thesis concert, Search for my Familiar, was performed to critical acclaim. Mr. Graciani also was a guest artist with the CityDance Ensemble at the Kennedy Center. In September of 2005 Mr. Graciani joined the faculty at Ohio University as an Assistant Professor. While there he received two Arts for Ohio Choreographic Grants, one of which resulted in the collaboration, Oyster, with composer John Orfe and the Grammy Award winning new music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound. In addition to his work at Ohio University, Rubén was a member of the Joe Goode Performance Group for two seasons, 2005-2007. Mr. Graciani’s work with the company has included contributing to the creation and premiere of new work at the company’s home season in San Francisco, two national tours of new work and repertory, a site specific performance at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and teaching master classes all over the country. In the summer of 2007, he appeared as a guest artist with the Brian Brooks Moving Company at the Gwang Ju International Performing Arts Festival in Gwang Ju, South Korea. In the Spring of 2008 his first solo show was presented at the SAS Performing Arts Center in Shanghai, China.

Mr. Graciani was a company member and rehearsal director for Company Stefanie Batten Bland, from 2008-2010. Currently an Associate Professor, Rubén joined the faculty of Skidmore College in September of 2008. While at Skidmore Mr. Graciani has collaborated with renowned composer Richard Danielpour and pianist, Xiayin Wang on the work Swing and a Miss, which premiered at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center; worked in collaboration with the Academy ACJW for a performance of L’Histoire du Soldat, and premiered two works for Saratoga ArtsFest. Rubén’s work on dance films with his Skidmore students was recently profiled in the November 2012 edition of Dance Magazine. He has created 11 choreographic works for the Skidmore Dance Department, and he teaches Advanced Modern Technique, Contemporary Ballet, Modern Dance Partnering, Choreography, and Senior Capstone among others. In the fall of 2012 he began teaching in the Skidmore Inter-Group relations program. His recently formed dance company, RG Dance Projects, has already had two successful engagements in NYC. RG Dance Projects premiered a new work at the DanceNow Raw Materials show, and the DanceNow Joe’s Pub festival in September of 2012. RGDP won the Audience Favorite Award for the night while performing at the DanceNow Joe’s Pub Festival and was invited to perform again in the encore presentation of the best of the festival. RG Dance Projects has been awarded a residency at SILO Arts in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2013 to prepare for their inaugural full season in NYC. He currently serves on the Dance Panel of the New York State Council of the Arts.

Jennifer Ross-Craze

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jennifer’s yoga path began in 2000 with her mentor Johnny Johns at Murfreesboro’s first yoga studio.  She completed a 13... read more

Jennifer Ross-Craze

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jennifer’s yoga path began in 2000 with her mentor Johnny Johns at Murfreesboro’s first yoga studio.  She completed a 13 month 1,000 hours yoga teacher training program at the Southern Institute for Yoga Instructors with Betty Larsen and John Charping.  She is registered with Yoga Alliance at the highest level as an E-RYT® 500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 level) and maintains registry through continuing education by attending teacher trainings and workshops.  This is the highest level recognized in the discipline of yoga.  She has over 2,000 hours of yoga training (2001 to present), including a 300-hour Foundations of Yoga Therapy Program and 25 hours of Ayurveda training.

Jennifer has been teaching yoga full-time at MTSU for 15 years, instructing almost 6,000 hours and over 5,000 students.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Health and Physical Education, a Specialist in Education Degree and has completed all her coursework towards a Doctorate Degree in Administration and Supervision in Higher Education (currently working on her dissertation). She was acknowledged as a person at MTSU who makes a real difference in students’ lives and contributes to their success for years 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015.   She has consistently impressive student evaluations ranging from 4.6 to 4.9 (out of 5.0) for 15 years.  Jennifer created and implemented the curriculum for Beginning Yoga, Intermediate Yoga, and Advanced Yoga at MTSU.  She also co-created the Somatic Movement Education minor in the Health and Human Performance Department along with the Somatic Movement class.  In addition, she has taught in Murfreesboro’s local community for 16 years at various studios and venues.

Her teaching is a fusion of yoga styles, incorporating the alignment principles from the Iyengar tradition to the fluidity of Vinyasa with sprinklings of a modified Ashtanga method.  Jennifer’s intentions for teaching are to cultivate an atmosphere for exploration and many opportunities for growth; empowering students to become the best version of themselves on and off the yoga mat.  Her goal is to share the gift of yoga and make it accessible to everyone!

Rebekah Hampton Barger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Rebekah Hampton Barger relocated to Nashville after spending time in Oklahoma City, OK as a company member and choreographer with modern... read more

Rebekah Hampton Barger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Rebekah Hampton Barger relocated to Nashville after spending time in Oklahoma City, OK as a company member and choreographer with modern and aerial dance company Perpetual Motion Dance, and a guest performer and faculty instructor with the Oklahoma City Ballet. Upon arriving in Nashville, Rebekah founded FALL, Nashville’s first aerial and contemporary dance company. Drawing on her multi-disciplinary background Rebekah’s work blends classical and contemporary dance with a mix of aerial fabric and invented structures, examining how the use of various apparatus’ can provide a broader range of movement possibilities, create opportunities to explore more dimensions in space, and challenge dancers to experience gravity and their own physicality in new ways.

In addition to directing FALL, Rebekah is the ballet program director at Ann Carroll School of Dance, a guest instructor for New Dialect’s Contemporary Cross-Training Series, and a resident artist with abrasiveMedia.  

Lindsay McNeal Ison

Dance - Guest Faculty

Lindsay McNeal Ison, PT, MS, OCS, is a physical therapist at Susan Underwood Physical Therapy in Nashville, TN, the official... read more

Lindsay McNeal Ison

Dance - Guest Faculty

Lindsay McNeal Ison, PT, MS, OCS, is a physical therapist at Susan Underwood Physical Therapy in Nashville, TN, the official physical therapy provider to Nashville Ballet. She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedics. Ms. Ison is an adjunct faculty member at Belmont University School of Physical Therapy. She also collaborates with numerous dance schools and programs in Middle Tennessee to provide injury prevention seminars and health education.    

Jon Upleger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jon Upleger began training seriously in 1997 under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener at the Virginia School... read more

Jon Upleger

Dance - Guest Faculty

Jon Upleger began training seriously in 1997 under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener at the Virginia School of the Arts. Upon graduation, he received the school’s prestigious Dean’s Award and then joined Nashville Ballet as an Apprentice in 2000. During his time at Nashville Ballet, Jon has performed roles from such varied repertoire as Romeo in Paul Vasterling’s Romeo & Juliet, the Sugar Plum Cavalier in Nashville’s Nutcracker, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and Albrecht in Giselle.

Other leading roles include Salvatore Aiello’s Satto, Sarah Slipper’s Ploughing the Dark, Vasterling’s Awaiting Redemption, the Protagonist in Vasterling’s Firebird, Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite, Vasterling’s Cinderella, Carmina Burana, Peter Pan, and The Ben Folds Project. In addition to performing with Nashville Ballet’s company, Jon also performs with Configurations Dance Theater in New York, Missouri Ballet Theater and Terpsicorps Theater of Dance in Asheville, N.C. He also recently taught men’s class and pas de deux to students from across the country at Nashville Ballet’s Summer Intensive.    

Keith Fitzpatrick

Dance - Guest Faculty

Keith Fitzpatrick was born in Nashville, TN. A self taught dancer, he has choreographed for the Dove Awards, and the... read more

Keith Fitzpatrick

Dance - Guest Faculty

Keith Fitzpatrick was born in Nashville, TN. A self taught dancer, he has choreographed for the Dove Awards, and the CMT awards. He has also been featured in several TV spots for Toyota, WSIX, and a pilot episode of a television show. He has also taught several workshops across the country, including Dancers Rock, TAD, and Dancemasters, and is currently teaching Hip-Hop for Vanderbilt University, Austin Peay University, and several Top dance studios in the Nashville, TN area.

Keith is also a talented music producer, working with hip-hop and R&B acts in a joint venture with Skyline Music Group in Nashville, TN. With a dance style that has an urban edge, with a lyrical twist, Keith is fast becoming a very sought after and respected choreographer and dancer.

Lindsey N. Siders

Dance Production Coordinator

Lindsey N. Siders is a Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, and Production Manager for theatre and dance. Born in Springfield, Illinois,... read more

Lindsey N. Siders

Dance Production Coordinator

Lindsey N. Siders is a Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, and Production Manager for theatre and dance. Born in Springfield, Illinois, she is a 2015 graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Theatre Design/Production and a minor in Dance Performance. For two seasons she has worked as the Production Stage Manager for the Peoria Ballet, and has spent the last two summers working as a Production Intern at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. 

Todd London

Dance - Dance Accompanist

Todd London.  As a faculty member at Belmont University School of Music, Todd London teaches applied percussion, ethnic percussion, commercial... read more

Todd London

Dance - Dance Accompanist

Todd London.  As a faculty member at Belmont University School of Music, Todd London teaches applied percussion, ethnic percussion, commercial percussion seminars, and directs the Belmont World Percussion Ensemble. Todd holds the Master of Music degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Percussion Performance, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University with a major in Commercial Music Performance. As a performer, Mr. London maintains a busy schedule and has most recently been performing with the Todd London Trio, Belmont Faculty Jazz Group, Coral Bay Steel Drum Band, Deep Grooves Steel Drum Band, The Time Raiders, Matrix Percussion Trio, Nashville Praise Symphony, and Alabama Symphony.

As a composer, Todd has written music for such shows as Guiding Light and As The World Turns and has received recognition for contributions to the Guiding Light’s Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series on numerous occasions. He has also composed the music for two children’s ballets commissioned by the Nashville Ballet, The Singing Tortoise and The Emperor and The Nightingale.  Mr. London currently resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with his wife and four beautiful daughters.

Billy Ditty

Dance Costumer

Billy Ditty – Costume Design.  Hailing from the coal country of eastern Kentucky , Billy studied Costume Design and Theatre at Morehead... read more

Billy Ditty

Dance Costumer

Billy Ditty – Costume Design.  Hailing from the coal country of eastern Kentucky , Billy studied Costume Design and Theatre at Morehead State University. Since then he has sewn and performed his way across the south and the country. Here in Nashville  he has had the pleasure of working on many different  types of projects from film to musical theatre to the Nashville Ballet where he is in his 4th. Season  as the draper and a designer.

Martin O’Connor

Fine Art Photographer

Dance and Fine Art Photographer. 

Martin O’Connor is a native Nashvillian whose photography began as a special interest then evolved into... read more

Martin O’Connor

Fine Art Photographer

Dance and Fine Art Photographer. 

Martin O’Connor is a native Nashvillian whose photography began as a special interest then evolved into a full-time profession. Many of his photos grace the pages of state dance organization’s brochures, and the publicity materials of Nashville Ballet, Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville, Franklin School of Performing Arts, University School of Nashville, Vanderbilt University Dance, Middle Tennessee State University dance and theatre, Governor’s School of the Arts, and Tennessee Dance Theatre. Additional organizations displaying his work include Baptist Hospital, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Tennessee Oncology, and The Renaissance Center. Martin has been a fervent advocate of the art of dance for many years.

In 2008, he received the Dance Advocate Award from the Tennessee Association of Dance. When presenting this award, they noted that “… his stunning images illustrate both his passion for the art form and the beauty of the art. His eye for detail and compassionate spirit make him a popular photographer for dancers to work with.” Beginning in 2012, Martin was invited to work with the Dance Division of the Governor’s School of the Arts. He is delighted to return to MTSU this summer to photograph a new group of talented young artists. Each photo opportunity that presents itself allows him to continue his search to capture the peak of motion and the essence of line and form. www.martinoconnorphoto.com  

Margaret Brooker

Dance – Guest Artist

Meg Brooker is a Tennessee-based Isadora Duncan dance artist, Co-Director of the Duncan Dance Project, and an Assistant Professor of... read more

Margaret Brooker

Dance – Guest Artist

Meg Brooker is a Tennessee-based Isadora Duncan dance artist, Co-Director of the Duncan Dance Project, and an Assistant Professor of Dance at Middle Tennessee State University. As a Duncan dancer, Meg has performed in national and international venues including the The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum, Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Art Monastery (Italy), Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art (St. Petersburg), American Center of Moscow, PROJEKT Fabrika (Moscow), the Tchaikovsky Museum (Votkinsk), the ancient Greek ruins at Chersonesos (Crimea), and the Kalamata International Dance Festival (as a guest artist with the Isadora Duncan Dance Group London/Paris), among others. Meg is currently directing the Duncan portion of Shay Ishii Dance Company’s project Dancestry, recognized in 2015 as “Best of the Arts in Austin” by the Austin-American Statesman, and featuring masterworks by modern dance pioneers Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, and Erick Hawkins, in collaboration with Lindberg/Slayter Reconstructions and Katherine Duke/Erick Hawkins Dance Company. Meg is a founder and steering committee member of the Isadora Duncan International Symposium, holding its third biennial conference at ODC in San Francisco in August 2017, and a former member of Lori Belilove & Company, Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, New York. 

As an educator, Meg has taught master classes and staged Duncan work for dance programs at a range of institutions including The University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, the Anglo American School of Moscow, Middle Tennessee State University, and numerous performing arts high schools and pre-professional training programs. In addition to her work at the college and university level, Meg has taught on the faculties of The School at Steps on Broadway, Tapestry Dance Academy, the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, and the Noyes School of Rhythm Foundation, where her work as Archive Director was recently supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance grant. She also holds certification in Zena Rommett Floor-barre technique.

Meg has presented scholarship on Isadora Duncan and Florence Fleming Noyes for Society of Dance History Scholars, Congress on Research in Dance, and National Dance Educators Organization, blogged about early twentieth century dance at “Tunics in Texas,” and contributed as a writer to Dance Studio Life magazine. Meg holds an MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and a BA from Yale. www.megbrookerdance.com

 

Michael Min

Dance – Ballet Accompanist

A native of South Korea, Michael Min is recognized as a soloist, choir director, ensemble musician, and concerto soloist.

His honors... read more

Michael Min

Dance – Ballet Accompanist

A native of South Korea, Michael Min is recognized as a soloist, choir director, ensemble musician, and concerto soloist.

His honors include Grand prize in the Seoul National Symphony Orchestra Competition and the second prize in the Music Education Newspaper Company in Seoul, Korea. He was also a prize winner in the Venusto Music Competition supported by the Mayor of Seoul, Korea.

As a faculty member (staff pianist) at Middle Tennessee State University, Michael Min assists Class Piano under Dr. Adam Clark, and Class Voice under Dr. Joshua Zink. He also actively performs with the MTSU Wind Ensemble as a keyboardist under Dr. Reed Thomas.

He holds his Masters of Music degree in Performance from Middle Tennessee State University, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Sahm-Yook University in Seoul, Korea. He has studied with Sook-Jin Lee, Joo-Soon Lee, Dr. Eunbyol Ko, and Dr. Adam Clark.

Joseph Walker

Dance – Ballet Accompanist

Joseph Walker is a native of Landstuhl, Germany. Mr. Walker earned his B.A. in Music from Armstrong Atlantic State University... read more

Joseph Walker

Dance – Ballet Accompanist

Joseph Walker is a native of Landstuhl, Germany. Mr. Walker earned his B.A. in Music from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia and his M.A. in Collaborative piano from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Mr. Walker’s primary piano teachers are Dr. Kevin Vogelsang, Dr. Kevin Hampton, Dr. Caleb Harris, and Dr. Leopoldo Erice. Mr. Walker leads an active career as a collaborative pianist as well as working as an adjunct faculty member at MTSU. Mr. Walker and his lovely wife April live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Fiona Scruggs

Dance Counselor

Fiona Scruggs is from Talbott, TN and is an alumna of the 2013 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts- Dance... read more

Fiona Scruggs

Dance Counselor

Fiona Scruggs is from Talbott, TN and is an alumna of the 2013 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts- Dance Division. Currently, she is pursuing a B.S. in Dance Education with Teacher Licensure and Honors Academy member at Radford University in Radford, VA. At Radford University, Fiona has performed in numerous pieces and shows including Dancing on the Edge, Paradigm Shift, The Nutcracker, Anything Goes (the musical), Informance: Student Choreography Showcase, Evening of Ballet, Fall Dance Fest, and more. She has attended and performed at the American College Dance Association Mid-Atlantic South Conference. Some of her most influential mentors include Ms. Donna Carver, Ms. Lori Ann Sparks, and her amazing faculty at Radford University.

She also attended summer programs at Radford University Ballet Youth and Louisville Ballet. Fiona has also served as a GSFTA Counselor (Dance) and as an RA at the Next Generation Ballet Summer Intensive. She is thrilled to be a counselor again this year at GSFTA and is beyond excited to help this year’s students have as wonderful and en pointe of an experience as she did.

Kayla Motley

Dance Counselor

Kayla Motley was born and raised in Nashville. She began her training at The Dancer's School, under the direction of... read more

Kayla Motley

Dance Counselor

Kayla Motley was born and raised in Nashville. She began her training at The Dancer's School, under the direction of Jimmi Lou Tate, at the age of four until she graduated in 2015. As a Governor's School for the Arts Dance alumni, she now attends Illinois State University as a Dance Performance Major. At school, she is involved in the student company, Illinois State Dance Theatrre. She has also had the chance to experience many summer intensives and performance opportunities with Nashville Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and the Middle Tennessee State University Opera.

Dance

Dance

Governor’s School students learn that dance is inherent to our heritage and world and that of others around us. Students are encouraged to perceive, evaluate, and understand dance as a conveyor of culture.

read more
Filmmaking

Filmmaking

Filmmaking students are introduced to both the theory and technical aspects of filmmaking. Through lectures, films and hand-on experiences, students will learn the three aspects of filmmaking: pre-production, production, and post-production.

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Instrumental Program

Instrumental Program

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Vocal Music

Vocal Music

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Theatre

Theatre

The theater school is a program of dedicated and focused study in all areas of theatrical studies, with an emphasis on the process of creating live theatre.

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Visual Art

Visual Art

Visual Arts students learn human understanding, achievement and self-development through the study and practice of visual art.

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