Faculty

Hannah Kosstrin

Hannah Kosstrin is a dance historian whose work engages dance, Jewish, and gender studies. Her monograph, Honest Bodies: Revolutionary Modernism in the Dances of Anna Sokolow (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), examines the transnational circulation of American modernism through Anna Sokolow’s choreography among the communist and Jewish currents of the international Left from the 1930s-1960s in the United States, Mexico, and Israel. Kosstrin’s published work appears in Dance Research JournalDance Chronicle, The International Journal of ScreendanceDance on Its Own Terms: Histories and Methodologies edited by Melanie Bales and Karen Eliot (Oxford UP), and the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (DeGruyter), with work forthcoming in Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance edited by Clare Croft (Oxford UP), and the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. She is project director for KineScribe, a Labanotation iPad app supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Reed College, and OSU. Her research and teaching interests include dance histories of the U.S., Israel and the Jewish diaspora, Latin America, Europe, South Asia, and the African diaspora; gender and queer theory; nationalism and diaspora studies; Laban studies; and digital humanities. Kosstrin is Treasurer of the Congress on Research in Dance, and a member of the Society of Dance History Scholars Editorial Board and the Dance Notation Bureau Professional Advisory Committee. From 2004-2007 she worked with Columbus Movement Movement which was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2007. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in dance from Goucher College and OSU, a Ph.D. in Dance Studies with a minor field in women’s history from OSU, and Labanotation Teacher Certification from the Dance Notation Bureau. She joined the OSU faculty in 2014, and previously taught at Reed College, Wittenberg University, and Ohio University Pickerington Center. 

Valarie Williams

Professor Valarie Williams, a 1987 Presidential Scholars in the Arts honorable mention recipient in ballet, holds a BFA from The Juilliard School, a MFA and PhD from Texas Woman’s University, and is a certified professional notator and teacher of Labanotation. She studied at the Paris Opera Summer Study in Evian les Bains, France; toured with Lincoln Center Institute Touring Programs for four years serving as dance captain; and performed with the Dallas Opera and Sharir Dance in Austin, Texas. She studied with Muriel Topaz and Dr. Jill Beck at The Juilliard School and at City University of New York in advanced Labanotation studies, with OSU Professor Emerita Odette Blum, and OSU Professor Emerita Lucy Venable who also served as Williams’ advisor for her qualifying score for professional notator certification. Williams has taught and set works from Labanotation score on the national dance companies of Peru and Ecuador, Repertory Dance Theater, Nanjing University of the Arts in China, and the Jakarta International School in Indonesia, as well as Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Emory University, and University of Texas at Austin.

She has worked with the following choreographers and notated their works: William Forsythe, Beverly Blossom, Yvonne Rainer, Bebe Miller, and the traditional dances of the Hunan Province in China. Williams has directed works from Labanotation scores by Paul Taylor, Doris Humphrey, Momix, Anna Sokolow, Yvonne Rainer, Mark Morris, and Marius Petipa. She has received grants from National Endowment for the Arts to restage, notate, and design content for multi-media documentation projects. Professor Williams collaborates with the Dance Notation Bureau in New York, New York to design and deliver the Labanotation Teacher Certification Course taught every three to four years in multiple locations such as the DNB Extension in Columbus, Ohio; the DNB in New York, New York; and Beijing, China. A Fellow of ICKL, Williams has served the International Council of Kinetography Laban/Labanotation (ICKL) as a member of the Board of Trustees holding multiple offices as Treasurer, Member at Large, and Vice Chair.

Melanie Bales (Emerita)

Melanie Bales first studied Laban Movement Analysis with Bill Evans and Gregg Lizenberry in the early 80s. In 1993, she organized an extension certification program at OSU, receiving her CMA from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in 1994. She co-taught for several years with OSU Professor Emerita Vera Maletic, and has presented with Maletic at conferences. She currently teaches two courses in the area in the Department: Dance Dynamics, an overview of Laban's Effort theory with a studio emphasis for choreographers and performers; and Laban Movement Analysis, a course which introduces Body, Effort and Space as a framework for applying to creative activity and research. Bales has used LMA as a mode of inquiry in writing, particularly as it applies to style analysis and in dance training, including ballet. Her articles have appeared in the CORD proceedings and in the Journal of Dance Education, and have been presented at dance organizations including CORD, ICKL, NDEO and several interdisciplinary conferences. Her book, The Body Eclectic: Evolving Practices in Dance Training, co-edited by Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, features several articles using the LMA perspective and will be available Autumn 2007 through the University of Illinois Press.

Odette Blum (Emerita)

Odette Blum received her early dance training in Scotland with Margaret Morris and was a member of the Celtic Ballet. In New York City she studied at the New Dance Group Studios (on scholarship), Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Nona Schurman Studio, and the Dance Notation Bureau. As a professional notator, she has notated a number of dance scores including Massine's Three Cornered Hat and served as notation consultant for the staging of Gower Champion's dances for Carnival at the New York City Center. She has directed works by Bettis, Jooss, Humphrey, Lampert, Limon, Maslow, Sokolow, and Tamiris. She has taught at the Dance Notation Bureau, the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, the Juilliard School, and the University of Ghana.Her publications include dance scores of Scottish Dances, Doris Humphrey's Water Study, and a Dance Perspectives Monograph #56 Dance in Ghana. She is a fellow of the International Council of Kinetography Laban (ICKL) and has served as Secretary of the organization for a number of years. She has taught and directed the Labanotation Teacher Certification Course at OSU. She was Director of the Dance Notation Bureau Extension from 1981 until her retirement in 1995.

John Giffin (Emeritus)

Professor Giffin teaches ballet, composition, notation and repertory for the Department of Dance at OSU. He has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadians in Montreal and has toured with the Heritage Dance Theater. He co-produced An Evening with Igor, choreographic works set to music of Stravinsky. He created Last Songs for the 1991 Cleveland Performance Art Festival and was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts to create The Fall River Follies. Professor Giffin has received grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the OSU Office of Research, as well as Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

Sheila Marion, PhD (Emerita)

Professor Marion served as director of the Dance Notation Bureau Extension for Education and Research at OSU until Spring 2011. Her research is in the application of computer technology for dance notation. Professor Marion is an elected fellow of the International Council of Kinetography Laban, and was selected by Ann Hutchinson Guest as a consultant for her Advanced Labanotation textbook. She currently serves on the ICKL Research Panel. Professor Marion has notated Daniel Nagrin's Jazz Three Ways and Jazz Dance Styles, Marion Scott's Sevenfold, and Tap Dance: A Dictionary of Tap Steps in Labanotation. Her directing credits include works by Ruth Currier, Doris Humphrey, Sophie Maslow, buzz Miller, Marion Scott, Anna Sokolow, and Helen Tamiris.

Lucy Venable (Emerita)

After graduating with a BA from Wellesley College as a Spanish major, Lucy Venable spent twenty years in New York City where she studied dance, primarily with José Limón, Doris Humphrey, Margaret Craske, and Alfredo Corvino. She became certified by the Dance Notation Bureau as a Labanotation teacher and Labanotator and taught Labanotation and Limón technique at the Juilliard School and Connecticut College Summer School of Dance. Venable performed with the José Limón Company (1957–1963), touring in the United States, Europe, Central and South America, and the Far East. For five years, she was the rehearsal director for the Merry-Go-Rounders, a dance company which performed for children. From 1961–1967 she directed the Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) in New York City. In 1968, she came to The Ohio State University where she taught dance fundamentals, Labanotation, repertory, and Alexander Technique. She founded the Dance Notation Bureau Extension for Education and Research, and was its Director for 12 years. Venable collaborated with Scott Sutherland on the development of the software program LabanWriter, a project she continues with David Ralley since her retirement in 1992. She is Vice President of the International Council of Kinetography Laban (ICKL), serves on the Board of Directors and Board of Examiners of the Dance Notation Bureau, and is treasurer of Alexander Technique International (ATI).

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