Modern Dance from Somatic Lens
Ballet with 3D Models by Sandra Parks
Drexel Dance Major Program combines rigorous academic coursework with extensive stage and studio dance experiences. Drexel features outstanding faculty of noted dancers, choreographers, and educators to prepare our graduates for a variety of careers in dance and related fields. We achieve this through Drexel’s outstanding co-op program, which has all students working for six months in a job in the dance field. Our students will explore extensive experiences to improve as a dancer, choreographer, and performer, while being interested in other areas of study offered by an outstanding university. The student who enters the Dance major at Drexel University is an academically achieving student with a passion for dance. This student wants to study dance —both physically and cognitively— while preparing for gainful employment after graduation.
Drexel University; Photo: Johanna Austin
Jennifer Morley is an Associate Teaching Professor and the Somatics coordinator in the Drexel University dance program. She is the Director of both the Drexel Pilates studio and the 450-hour Drexel Pilates training program. She is the coordinator of the Somatics minor. Her scholarship is highly focused on both existing and emerging embodied practices and the cultures and value systems from which they emerge. Jennifer is dedicated to anti-racist pedagogy and active inclusion.
Her specific work in the Pilates method has been centered on the deconstruction of the biomechanics of the classical repertoire. This practice is reflected in the 400-page training manual she authored and utilizes in the training program. This approach, partnered with exploration of the kinetics of dynamic stabilization and a love of full-bodied expressive movement create the foundation of her dance pedagogy.
Jennifer’s choreographic research is focused on the development of archetypal movement modes as a starting point for the creation of inhabited landscapes. Utilizing the Jungian understanding of archetypes as energies that reflect innate tendencies that mold and transform individual consciousness that live in all humans across time, space, and culture, she works to develop movement motifs that connect to lived experiences.
Her work was most recently presented at the Somatic Dance conference in Geneva New York and at the Cardell Dance Studio in Philadelphia. She has had a two-year choreographic residency at Philadelphia’s Community Education Center and been the recipient of multiple New Stages for Dance grants through Dance USA Philadelphia and the Pew Center for Arts and Culture.
Jennifer is invested in the development and support of community. She teaches mindfulness workshops throughout the University and beyond. She developed a community-based yoga course, through which she was able to study trauma informed care at the Kirkbride Center behavioral health care facility.
Sandra Parks is the founder and director of Women in Dance Leadership Conference. She is also a choreographer, dance educator, film producer and editor, and advocate for female leadership. Sandra holds her BFA from New York University and MFA from Smith College, MA.
Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Sandra danced as a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company. She toured nationally and internationally with a Broadway production of the King And I. While directing her own production, she danced and choreographed more than 80 live concerts. After she moved to Boston, she danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective, and Impulse Dance Company.
Sandra has presented her work at professional venues in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Boston, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City as well as Beijing and Taipei. She also created commissioned work for Bosoma Dance Company in Boston, Cangelosi Dance Project and Of Moving Colors in Baton Rouge, LA.
Sandra was a faculty member for Boston University, Bridgewater State College, Colleges of Fenway, Kennesaw State University, Louisiana State University, Regis College, and Smith College, and she taught master classes at National Taiwan University of Arts.
Her film work includes promotional videos for high school and university programs, documentary on Taiwanese aboriginal tribes, and a 65-minute documentary film on Chinese Dance and Culture. She is currently a full time teaching assistant professor and the Dance Program Director at Drexel University.