Integrated Dance Collaboratory


The IDC researches and promotes the role of dance as an effective intervention for public health, wellness, education and the professionalization of integrated dance arts. The IDC accomplishes its mission by fostering research, teaching, creative activity and performance, and community engagement, with a particular interest in integrating people with a variety of disabilities. As an interdisciplinary hub bringing together artists and scientists, the IDC explores the full spectrum of dance’s unique rehabilitative, therapeutic and expressive potential, challenging abled-bodied paradigms to expand thinking and actions toward inclusive and equitable embodiment and personhood.

Integrated Dance Collaboratory Staff

Jeff Friedman
Jeff Friedman - IDC Director

Dr. Jeff Friedman is Professor of Dance Studies in the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts. As a working dance artist in the San Francisco Bay Area during the HIV-AIDS epidemic, he developed LEGACY, an oral history project for San Francisco Bay Area dance community members with HIV-AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses (1988-2013). His Ph.D research at the University of California-Riverside explored theoretical foundations of his oral history work, focusing on embodied interviews as an intervention ensuring historical records recognize body knowledges. More recently, Jeff created and directed the Rutgers Dance and Parkinson’s Program (2015-2020), and was the producer the Mid-Atlantic convening for the Future of Integrated Dance at Rutgers University in 2017, led by his long-time colleague Judith Smith, Artistic Director Emerita of AIXS Dance Company (Oakland CA). This project inspired Jeff to develop the Mason Gross School of the Arts Integrated Dance Collaboratory at Rutgers University (2021-present).

Natalie Schultz-Kahwaty- IDC Assistant Director

As a working dance artist, Dr. Natalie Schultz-Kahwaty curated her own doctoral research program in Advanced Human Behavior (Capella University) focusing on dance related to Parkinson’s disease. As a certified Dance for Parkinson’s instructor, she teaches throughout NE Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is currently Director of the Dance and Parkinson’s Program at Rutgers University. Dr. Schultz-Kahwaty also has taught dance classes for chronic illnesses, adaptive yoga, and dance for neurodivergent people and developmentally and intellectually disabled populations, both in community settings and at Rutgers University.

Stephanette Schwartz-Smith
Stephanette Schwartz-Smith - Program Associate

Stephanette Schwartz-Smith is Production Manager and resident Lighting Designer for the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts, where she also teaches Dance Production. Previously she was Production Manager for the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College in NE Pennsylvanie and has been a freelance designer for Lehigh University, Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange, the Infamous Commonwealth Theater (Chicago), Long Beach Opera and Ballet (CA), and the Actors Gang (CA). Stephanette consuts with IDC staff on curating opportunities in integrated dance and provides technical support for programs.

Advisory Council Members

Nancy Gonzalez

Nancy Gonzalez is a military veteran, a former schoolteacher, and a person with Parkinson’s. She is a long-time participant in the Rutgers Dance and Parkinson’s Program.

John Killacky
John Killacky

The Honorable John Killacky is an integrated dance and film artist, former director/curator of the Performance Program at Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis MN, and former director of the Flynn Center for the Arts in Burlingont VT.
Killacky was formerly State Representative (retired-Chittenden-7-3 District), Vermont House of Representatives.

Judith Smith
Judith Smith

Judith Smith is an integrated dance artist, internationally-renowned consultant on the future of integrated dance, and Artistic Director Emerita of AXIS Dance Company in Oakland CA.


Public Programs

Academic Integrated Dance Education

Community Integrated Dance Education

IDC Funders

The Integrated Dance Collaboratory recognizes the generous support of:

  • The Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor’s Strategic Initiatives Fund
  • The Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor’s Excellence in Service Award
  • Mason Gross School of the Arts Dean’s Office
  • The GKV Foundation
  • The Parkinsons Foundation
  • The Kenneth Aidekman Family Foundation
  • The Public Health and the Arts Seed Grant Program