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Associate Professor Garfield Lemonius joined the Conservatory of Performing Arts faculty in 2010 and was recently appointed to chair of the Department of Dance. Lemonius holds an M.F.A. in dance from Southern Methodist University and a B.F.A. in dance and Bachelor of Education from York University in Toronto.

What is your vision for the dance program?

Point Park's dance department has long been recognized as one of the premiere dance Conservatory programs in the country. My vision is to:

  • Maintain this tradition of excellence yet find new and innovative ways to ensure constant visibility for our program;
  • Engage in creativity and collaborative relationships with choreographers, entrepreneurs and our colleagues in our thriving local community and the industry at large;
  • Re-evaluate our curriculum and its delivery by employing best practices to support our students in their academic and artistic pursuits; and
  • Think and act boldly in the best interests of all our students and the department, by providing them with lasting tools and skills to ensure that they become successful artists and innovators.

What are the key differences between the B.A. and B.F.A. in dance at Point Park University?

Our B.F.A. in dance is a performance track which offers a robust training experience for students who wish to pursue a professional dance or choreographic career. This track exposes students to rigorous movement training in various dance techniques and styles from ballet to jazz to global movement styles. It ensures that students become versatile and expressive movers and innovators, while learning how to look at, write and talk about dance from a critical perspective. And while some of our B.F.A. students manage to double major, it is a challenge only for the academically astute student.

The B.A. in dance is geared towards the more academically inclined students who wish to pursue a double major or minor in another discipline. This track provides students with a breadth of study giving them the opportunity to design their own interdisciplinary focus. Students have the flexibility to add another major such as sports, arts and entertainment management, accounting or journalism, for example, or minor in musical theatre, interdisciplinary design or any other discipline. 

Tell us about your professional experience and how you incorporate it into the classroom?

I had the wonderful opportunity to work in the concert dance arena with renowned choreographers such as Robert Battle, David Parsons, Alonzo King, Chuck Davis, Jessica Lang, and Kevin Wynn, to name a few, and to tour across the United States and to numerous countries from Ireland to Croatia. I've had my share of commercial dance and in film, as well as teaching at one of the most prestigious performing arts high schools in the country, Booker T. Washington in Dallas.

All of these experiences inform how and what I teach here at Point Park. Yes, it is about rigor, relationships and relevance! This profession is not for the faint of heart, pardon the cliché. The rigorous training I emphasize in class mimics the experience of being a professional dancer. 

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Point Park?

There is something quite special about the community here at Point Park. I enjoy waking up each morning and feeling excited about coming to work. Not many places offer that kind of experience. It is a privilege and pleasure to be surrounded by a talented group of artists and inquisitive young minds who continue to challenge and encourage me to become a better leader, educator and artist every day. I feel very lucky to call this place my artistic home.

What advice do you have for prospective students considering auditioning and interviewing for Point Park’s dance program?

Be open to the process and take nothing for granted. The university experience is about a universal education. You will be challenged artistically, academically and emotionally. But you will receive skills and tools to become versatile movers, critical thinkers, leaders and innovators in the dance industry; we are creatively driven — that's the Point!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am humbled and honored to be invited to serve as chair of Point Park University's dance department and to work with a tremendously supportive and dedicated administration, faculty, staff and students.

Video by Jimmy Elinski, cinema production major

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