Faculty & Staff
What is dance? What and how do we know through dance? How does dance function in and contribute to societies? Such questions prompt students to engage in critical inquiry of dance as a constantly evolving global phenomenon.
Julia M. Ritter, PhD, MFA, is an award-winning dance artist and scholar whose work demonstrates the interdisciplinary integration of over 30 years of training in dance, voice, and theatre techniques. From 2010 to 2021, Ritter served as chair and artistic director of the Dance Department. As a resourceful champion of dance in academia, she worked at the intersection of the arts, humanities, and sciences to catalyze knowledge, address social injustice, and foster engagement with international organizations and local communities for the common good. With the cooperation of colleagues, Ritter pioneered multiple curricular and programmatic initiatives, including the establishment of two new graduate degrees; multiple study abroad programs; and numerous community creative engagement projects. Her book Tandem Dances: Choreographing Immersive Performance (Oxford University Press, 2021) is the first to examine the role of dance in the emerging field of immersive theatre and performance studies. Ritter is the recipient of two awards for her scholarly research, including the 2016 Selma Jeanne Cohen Lecture Award from the Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund for International Scholarship on Dance (USA) and the 2014 Prix André G. Bourassa for Creative Research (Canada). Ritter received three Fulbright Scholar awards for her choreographic research in Europe (2002, 2005, 2008), and in 2004 she received an Individual Artist Fellowship Award for artistic excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Ritter has distinguished herself as a publicly engaged artist and scholar, artistic director, and academic leader by championing the work of diverse artists to build inclusive communities that value dance as a means for innovation and social change.