Full-Time Faculty

  • Catherine Solaas

    Department Chair, Associate Professor of Dance, Production Manager
    Email: csolaas@austincc.edu

Catherine Solaas, Department Chair, joined the dance faculty at Austin Community College as an assistant professor in 2011 and was named department chair in 2015. Solaas leads the paid internship program, produces dance department events, and teaches dance courses for ACC.

Solaas choreographs for faculty and student productions as well as local and regional dance festivals and conferences. Recently, her work has been shown at Austin Dance Festival, Texas State University, American College Dance Association Conferences, the Big Range Austin Dance Festival, and as part of Eleven Eleven: Eleven Dances in Eleven Months. Solaas has received grants and commissions for the creation of new work, including awards from Arts Council Norway, Nordic Culture Point, Freedom of Expression Foundation, Sound and Picture Fund, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Austrian Embassy and The Center for the Study of Women in Society. Solaas earned a bachelor’s degree (1993) and a master’s degree (1996) in dance from the University of Oregon. She is happy to have danced in the US and internationally with Jill Sigman, Tiffany Mills Company, Susan Hadley, Claire Porter, Margo Van Ummersen, Alito Alessi and others, including extensive seasons at New York venues such as Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Joyce Soho, Merce Cunningham Studio, Dumbo Dance Festival and the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church.

Solaas is a member of National Association of Schools of Dance, National Dance Education Organization, and The League for Innovation in the Community College. She also serves on the board of directors for the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company.

Melissa Sanderson (she/her), Associate Professor, joined the dance faculty at Austin Community College as an associate professor in 2021. Melissa is a dance artist whose work spans choreography, performance, dance film, and education. Her choreography has been presented through 12 Minutes Max in Seattle, the World Dance Alliance Global Summit in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, WDA’s International Young Choreographers Project in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Austin Dance Festival, Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, BOOST Dance Festival, {254} Dance Festival, and Ponderosa in Stolzenhagen, Germany. She is passionate about being in creative process with students and has choreographed for Bellevue College Dance Company and Kaleidoscope Dance Company. Melissa‘s dance films have been presented nationally and internationally at venues including Agite y Sirva in Mexico, Seyr Festival in Iran, São Carlos Videodance Festival in Brazil, Utah Dance Film Festival, Dans Kamera Istanbul in Turkey, and Festival International de Vidéo Danse de Bourgogne in France. 

Based in Seattle from 2017-2021, Melissa performed in collaborative projects with Coriolis Dance, The Gray, Kinesis Project Dance Theatre, and Jessica Jobaris & General Magic in venues including On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center, and Base: Experimental Arts + Space. Additionally, she danced with Jordan Fuchs Company from 2015-2017. Melissa holds a MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University (2014) and a BFA in Dance from San Diego State University (2010). As an educator Melissa is committed to guiding students through an embodied learning experience to hone their unique creative voice. She previously taught as Adjunct Faculty at Bellevue College, University of North Texas, Dallas College Eastfield Campus, and Tarrant County College and is thrilled to join Austin Community College as Full-Time Dance Faculty starting Fall 2021. www.melissasandersondance.com 

Adjunct Faculty

Ellen Bartel received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from S.U.N.Y. Potsdam in 1993 and in 2012 her M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Texas focusing on the pedagogical methods of contemporary dance and choreography of site-dance. Ellen’s independent artistic-scholarly pursuits also include observing and learning different choreographic methodologies, somatics, and butoh dance. She completed her Laban/Bartenieff certification in 2018, when she became a Certified Movement Analyst and a Registered Somatic Movement Educator.

Her company, Ellen Bartel Dance Collective, formed in 2014, is a project-based contemporary dance performance group. In two decades of dancing in Austin, Ellen has managed a small dance studio (‘97-‘06), directed a slow-motion improvisation group (’95-’01), directed non-profit Spank Dance (’00-’13), created 47+ new dance works, directed 55+ butoh improvisations, spearheaded community dance events such as the annual Dance Carousel (’04-’12), Big Range Austin Dance Festival (’08-’12), Hot September Flurries (05-07), and co- founded the Austin Independent Choreographers. She has choreographed for T. V. commercials, theater, fashion shows, as well as Performance Art events, and has collaborated with local composers: Graham Reynolds, Andy Hadaway (now NYC), Adam Sultan and Peter Stopschinski among others. Ellen has danced in 20 original new works from local choreographers including Ariel Dance Theater who she performed extensively with until 2001. Ellen’s choreography has been shown in many venues in Austin, and also Houston, Dallas, Waco, San Antonio, Edinburgh, Scotland, and in Brooklyn, NY.

Ellen has been the City of Austin’s Creative Ambassador in 2014, and been called a Dance Mobilizer, Dance Phenomenon, chosen for Austin’s Fortunate 500 for several years, nominated for Best Dance Concert and Best Choreography for numerous Critics Table Awards, Best of the Fest in HPT’s Frontera Festival, and a chosen for many Top Ten Dance Events. Ellen has been awarded scholarships for education, funding to create new work, generous contributions both monetarily and time from members of the Austin community.

  • Joseph Cox, MFA

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance
Email: joseph.cox@austincc.edu

Joseph Cox holds an M.F.A. in Dance from The University of Iowa. He teaches Dance Appreciation for Austin Community College, offering a perspective informed by both scholarship and an extensive performance background.

Joseph and his wife currently serve as directors of the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet. His dance career began with Eugene Slavin and Alexandra Nadal at Ballet Austin, and continued with Cincinnati Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and most notably as a principal dancer with the Louisville Ballet. Over his twenty-five year performing career, he learned much of the classical ballet canon and numerous masterworks of the 20th century, working closely with dance icons, such as Sir Frederic Franklin, Suzanne Farrell, and Nicholas “Papa” Beriosoff.

Joseph previously taught ballet technique and dance history as Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has also served in various teaching and staging capacities with Ballet Arkansas, Cincinnati Ballet, Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Cincinnati Opera, and The Carnegie Theatre of Northern Kentucky. Joseph and his wife were the founding directors of the Crossing Lines Project, a team of professional performers dedicated to sharing dance with student artists throughout Kentucky.

Joseph’s choreography has been performed with Louisville Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Louisville’s Moving Collective, Austin Contemporary Ballet, and in other venues. His honors include the 2009 Kentucky Arts Council “Al Smith” Fellowship for Choreography, the 2011 Iowa Arts Fellowship, and a Governor’s commission as a Kentucky Colonel.

Jessica Lindberg Coxe is an Adjunct Professor of Dance History at Austin Community College (ACC), an instructor of Ballet technique at Greater Austin Dance Academy, and is actively involved in teaching the dance students at various schools in the Round Rock and Austin Independent School Districts. Lindberg holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University, an MFA in Dance Reconstruction / Directing from Score from The Ohio State University, and she is certified in Labanotation and Language of Dance®. Using historical accounts, reviews, photographs, lithographs, and other artwork of the 1890s, Lindberg reconstructed Night, Fire Dance, Lily of the Nile, and La Mer, master works by the dancer, choreographer, and theatrical lighting pioneer Loïe Fuller.

Roxanne Saenz Gage is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She performed nationally and internationally with the Sharir Dance Company and was the Jazz dance instructor for the Company School. She also performed and choreographed with the Andrea Beckham Collaborative Dance Company. She is a dance instructor, choreographer and nationals dance judge for MA Dance, where she has celebrated over 30 years of experience with dance teams. She has served on the dance panel of judges at The Dance World Championships for all star dance competitors. She attended Kilgore College where she was a Rangerette Lieutenant and a “Swingster,” which are the top eight performing jazz dancers.
She shared performances with Bob Hope, Ann Jillian, Rock Hudson, and Donny Osmond and even did High Kicks as an Honor Guard for Prince Charles of Wales. She worked with Sandra Bullock as an assistant choreographer for the pageant section in the movie “Miss Congeniality. She is currently the rehearsal director for the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company where she has performed and guest choreographed for over 10 seasons. She is an adjunct faculty member for the Dance Department at Austin Community College and enjoys representing the dance department while teaching at the American College Dance Festivals. She continues to enjoy doing contract dance workshops, dance camps and competition choreography for independent school districts and dance studios in the Texas area. She is passionate about living life to its fullest and sharing her love of dance.

Kathy Dunn Hamrick teaches ballet classes at Austin Community College. She trained in classical ballet under Maryse Gobel, Gallia Kouskoff, Richard Sias, and Maria de Baroncelli, among others. Kathy received her BA in Modern Dance from the University of Texas and her MFA in Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. She is also the Artistic Director of Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company, one of Austin’s longest-standing modern dance companies. With work described as “strikingly athletic and wonderfully expressive,” “heavenly,” “ingenious,” “smart” and “masterful,” she has accumulated numerous recognitions for her dance company, including awards from the Austin Critics Table for “Best Choreographer,” “Best Dance Concert,” “Best Dancer,” and “Best Duet.” In addition to directing and choreographing for KDH Dance Company, Kathy teaches dance to numerous populations. She has been a guest artist for Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy, Texas A&M University,Texas State University, the Texas Dance Educators Association, Round Rock ISD and the American College Dance Association. She partners with the DEA to teach creative movement to at-risk students in public schools, and she works with foster girls in residence at The Settlement Home through Move IT!, one of the company’s dance outreach programs. She has taught dance at Florida State University, Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Texas and, in addition to teaching at Austin Community College, currently teaches modern dance at Café Dance, a professional modern dance studio.

Darla Johnson is a choreographer, teacher, and author living in Austin, Texas. She is the author of The Art of Listening: Intuition and Improvisation in Choreography (2012), and a contributor to Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (2010). She is also a published poet.

From 1990 to 2005 Johnson was the co-artistic director of Johnson/Long Dance.
J/LDC received numerous awards and grants from the City of Austin, the State of Texas and the National Performance Network. The Austin Symphony, the University of Texas, Dance on Tulsa, and Winona State University commissioned dance/theatre works from J/LDC. The company performed nationally and internationally in such cities as Los Angeles, Honolulu, Little Rock, Albuquerque, and Hamburg, Germany, and taught residencies throughout the United States while touring.

Johnson founded the dance department at Austin Community College. She has received the ACC Teacher’s Excellence award twice. In 2009, she received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Award for Teaching Excellence and Service. She was invited to be a Visiting Scholar, with a focus on globalizing curriculum, at the University of Texas for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Recently, Johnson’s work has been produced and performed at the Austin Dance Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Black Arts Movement Festival, Texas State University, Spelman College, Georgian Court University, with the Shay Ishii Dance Company and in a project with other Austin choreographers entitled 11:11.

The JUSTICE Project is Johnson’s current work and research project. The project is a collaboration with Nicole Wesley, Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas State University. Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia), Northumbria University and The Contemporary School of Dance (United Kingdom), Austin Community College (Austin, Texas) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad) the University of Bedfordshire, (United Kingdom), Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas) and McCallum Fine Arts Academy (Austin, Texas) have all commissioned The JUSTICE Project. In June of 2016 a chapter that was co-authored by Johnson and Wesley on the McCallum Fine Arts project was published in The Young are Making Their World, Essays on the Power of Youth Culture.

Jessica Maria MacFarlane is an interdisciplinary dance researcher and creative writer from Houston, TX. Her teaching and research interests include dance history, theory, criticism, and archival practices alongside creative writing, film, and popular culture. She began her academic pursuit of dance at San Jacinto College South, and later transferred to Texas State University where she earned a BFA in dance studies with a minor in writing. Jessica holds an MA in individualized study with a concentration in dance studies, science fiction, and creative writing from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study (‘19). In between her studies, Jessica was a public relations and marketing archivist and research contributor at Houston Ballet. She’s written about dance for Arts and Culture Texas, Dance Source Houston’s Dance DiSH, Playbill, and was a freelance writer for the pop-culture media outlet, The Nerdist. She’s a member of the Dance Studies Association and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. In her personal practice, Jessica writes short stories about resilient women living in contemporary Texas, science fiction tales imagining dance futures, and nonfiction essays that explore nostalgia and pop-culture. She’s currently working on a series of cli-fi and dystopian short stories about the lives of human and cyborg dancers.

  • Jun Shen, MFA

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance
Email: jun.shen@austincc.edu

Jun Shen is the founder and artistic director of Shen Jun Movement Effect based in the Austin area. Shen, born in Mainland China, began dancing in high school. He earned his bachelor degree in dance at Beijing Capital Normal University and then attended Beijing Dance/LDTX as a dancer and choreographer. In the past several years, he has performed and choreographed many dance works for many worldwide dance festivals and events including Dance Salad Festival, Beijing Dance Festival, Fall For Dance Festival, and Busan International Dance Festival, among others. He has collaborated with many different artists from various fields, as well. Shen has also taught in many educational institutions and dance studios, both nationally and internationally, such as Virginia Common University, Shanghai Drama Academy, Lines Ballet Training Program, and the University of Texas at Austin. He was invited to join the graduate dance program at UT Austin in 2013 and earned his MFA in May of 2016. He currently teaches movement and Tai-Chi at Sansori High School and is the modern dance instructor and guest artist for Blue Lapis Light.


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