Chair of the Dance Department, Charles A. Dana Professor of Dance, Director of the Visiting Artist Program
B.F.A., The Juilliard School; M.F.A., University of North Carolina (Greensboro)
"I like my students to acquire an appreciation for the role of dance in American culture," says Associate Professor of Dance Pamela Risenhoover. "Dance is often considered to be the mother of the arts. It existed even before language, and like every other art form, it teaches us about ourselves."
A former dancer with the acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company, Risenhoover chairs the Dance Department, which emphasizes technique and dance composition while instilling an understanding of dance historically, aesthetically, and therapeutically. Cited early in its history as one of the five leading colleges and universities in the development of modern dance by the New York Herald Tribune, Randolph College trains students to become versatile in classical ballet, modern dance, and jazz. Dancers perform in productions that highlight all the disciplines of dance and are encouraged to choreograph their own pieces. Recent graduates currently dance, or have danced, professionally with a variety of U.S. companies or have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in the field.
A linchpin of the Randolph College Dance Department is the Visiting Artists Program, which Risenhoover directs. Founded in 1971 by Helen McGehee '42 (herself a soloist with the Martha Graham company for nearly 30 years), it brings to campus professional dancers and choreographers who reside at Randolph College for two to three weeks. Visiting artists have come from the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Jose Limon Dance Company, the Joffrey Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, as well as from Martha Graham's and other companies.
"I want students to have the opportunity to study with the bona fide article," Risenhoover notes.
Risenhoover graduated with honors in ballet from New York's School of Performing Arts. She received her B.F.A. from the Juilliard School and her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has performed with several companies in the New York area and in England with the Janet Soares Dance Group.
She regrets that few people realize how demanding dance is as a discipline, and how it requires years of study as well as thought.
"Accomplishment in dance doesn't occur spontaneously, you have to think about it," she says. "Mind and body must both work together."
As an antidote to the tension that can arise in the studio, Risenhoover goes out of her way to employ humor.
"Sometimes students take it much too seriously," she laments. "What I've found is that you can laugh when you discover that you're not perfect and can't do something, or you can laugh when you have a breakthrough. Either way, laughter is a result of discovery."
B.A., Randolph-Macon Woman's College
KELLY MALONE DUDLEY was a principal dancer-singer-actor with the Chicago-based touring company, Jump-Rhythm Jazz Project from 1997 to 2005 and the Nashville-based modern dance company, Epiphany for 2 years. While in Chicago, Kelly taught Jump Rhythm Jazz technique at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Dance Center of Evanston, National Louis University, and Northwestern University, has taught and staged Jump Rhythm Jazz repertory at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, University of Wisconsin, Steven's Point, Southern Methodist University, Iowa State University, and the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Michigan and has enjoyed leading Jump Rhythm Jazz master classes around the country.
She was honored with the 2004 Dance Achievement Award from the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance for excellence in her performances in multiple dance roles with the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project. She also appeared with the Emmy Award-winning Jump Rhythm Jazz Project in the PBS program The Chicago Dance Project. Kelly recently performed at the 2009 Dance Teacher's Summit Gala in New York City.
Ms. Dudley has choreographed for Randolph College’s Annual Spring Dance Concert and its recent production of Spring Awakening, Waterworks Player’s South Pacific, and Wolfbane Production’s Bare. She most recently appeared in Endstation Theatre’s Big River. She is a former member of the Community Dance Program faculty at Virginia School of the Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts, Lynchburg. She holds a B.A. in dance and biology from Randolph-Macon Woman's College. She also studied dance at the Nashville Ballet School, American Dance Festival, the Limón Institute of Dance, and the Bates Dance Festival.
Ms. Dudley, her husband, and their three children now reside in Virginia where Kelly is a Certified Personal Trainer and adjunct instructor in the Department of Dance at Randolph College.