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College of Visual and Performing Arts

Faculty & Staff Profiles

 Neels, Sandra   Name: Sandra Neels
Title: Associate Professor of Dance
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Office: 310 Bancroft Hall  
Phone: 803/323-4855
Modern Technique, Ballet Technique, Dance Appreciation, Tap, I and II

Since leaving her 10-year performance career with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1974, Neels has choreographed over 200 works in a variety of settings. She maintained her own studio and company in New York City; choreographed for the Utah Repertory Dance Theatre; choreographed various musicals around the country and fashion shows in New York, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles; served as a guest choreographer on The Merv Griffin Show; and produced and performed many works for universities and colleges where she was artist-in-residence.

In Canada, Neels choreographed for The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Manitoba Opera Association, the Plug-In and Mirvish Galleries, The Young People's Theatre, The Bathurst Street Theatre, Brian Glow the Magician, the Winnipeg Figure Skating Club, and the Manitoba Rhythmic Gymnastic Association.

She has taught at the University of South Florida in Tampa, York University in Toronto, the Harvard Summer Session, Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., Connecticut College Summer Session in New London, The California Institute of the Arts (where she received the Faculty of the Year Award in 1983), the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Company and Professional Program, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Winthrop, the South Carolina Governors’ School for the Arts and Humanities, the International Ballet Academy, and Ballet Hawaii.

Neels has been an adjudicator for the Canada Council, the Ontario and Manitoba Arts Councils, the Association of Canadian Dance Festivals, Rising Star Productions, and the North Carolina Arts Council and the South Carolina Arts Commission. She has been an artistic coach and national-level judge for the Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics Association and a site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts. Neels has been an assistant to the chair of the Summer Dance Program at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities for five of the 16 years she has been teaching there, and recently reunited with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York by teaching company class and coaching the dancers for their July 2002 Lincoln Center performance. Since then, Neels has become an official reconstructionist of Merce Cunningham's work.

During the summers of 2006 and 2007, Neels was the choreographer for the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. She also continues to choreograph for dancers who are competing in the Youth America Grand Prix International Ballet Competition and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. 

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