Annually, the Maryland Council for Dance awards an oustanding leader in the dance field with our Award for Distinguished Service to Dance in Maryland. Nominations are accepted from the Board of Directors, and/or the general membership and the recipient is chosen by vote. The recipients of this award are more than major contributors to the field of dance within our state. They are vital voices, educators, artists, researchers and developers on national and international levels. Our congratulations, and also our sincerest thanks, go to them for all of their hard work, commitment, and dedication to the field of dance in our state and beyond.
Service Award Recipient Biographies:
2016 Recipient - Lynda Fitzgerald
Lynda Plavin Fitzgerald is the Coordinator, Performing Arts-Dance and Director of the AACC Dance Company at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland where she developed and implemented the dance curriculum, and the dance major. Since establishing the AACC Dance Company in 1989, Lynda also created a service learning component enabling dancers to teach and give lecture/demonstrations at many Anne Arundel County public schools. She has taught and performed throughout the United States for the American College Dance Association, and has been on the faculty of the MD State Dance Festival, as well as a guest instructor at Towson University. She served on the boards for the Ballet Theatre of Maryland (Vice President for 2 years), and Maryland Council for Dance for more than 10 years where she served as President from 2003-2005. Before coming to Maryland, she performed professionally in California, and taught dance at Stanford University for the “STARTS” program. She was full-time faculty at West Virginia University where she also directed a dance company and choreographed for the Women’s Division I, Varsity Gymnastics Team. Her work has been commissioned by companies in Maine, Maryland, California and Virginia. Lynda has an M.A. from Stanford University in Education with a concentration in dance, and a B.A. from Connecticut College in English and Dance. She is a “NISOD” Excellence Award recipient, nationally recognized for teaching excellence. She and the Dance Company were the first recipients of the Robert E. Kauffman Performing Arts Award in 2012. Lynda currently serves on the National Board of Directors as the Mid-Atlantic North regional representative for the American College Dance Association.
2015 Recipient - Alcine Wiltz
Alcine Wiltz is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Dance, University of Maryland (1983 – 2004). At Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, he served as Artist-In-Residence and founding Director of Dance (1963-1983). He co-founded and directed the Mid America Dance Company, a professional touring contemporary dance company in St. Louis, Missouri. MAD/CO is currently celebrating its 38th year. Wiltz has directed/choreographed more than 60 musical theatre productions and created in excess of 50 concert dance works, receiving prestigious awards for his choreography. His 50-year career has combined academic and professional endeavors emphasizing dance performance, teaching, and choreography.
2014 Recipient - Karen Bradley
Karen is an Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a movement analyst, arts education researcher, and educator. She led the research team that produced the recent report, “EVIDENCE: A report on the impact of dance in the K-12 setting”. Karen was also a writer on the Core Arts Standards for dance, and she teaches in the Arts Integration Masters Certificate program at the University of Maryland, where she is also Director of Graduate Studies in Dance and oversees the Masters in Education with Certification in Dance program.
Karen’s research includes a partnership with Dr. Jose Contreras-Vidal at the University of Houston using EEG technology to document the differences between functional and expressive movement in elite movers, and a national project, the Art of Science Learning, NSF-funded project in which communities learn to solve technology and design problems through the arts. Karen is also a part of the leadership team on a grant from the Canadian government entitled “Moving Stories: Digital Tools for Movement, Meaning, and Interaction,” a partnership among the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NY, where she is a Director, Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology in Vancouver, BC, and the University of Illinois’ eDream Center.
Karen was recently named to the Dorothy Madden professorship in dance at the University of Maryland, through which she will develop and oversee a series of workshops, panel discussions, and related events around the topic of women, dance, and peacemaking. And, with all of that free time she has, she also contributes to media on the topic of movement in leadership practices. Congratulations and thank you to Karen, for all of the work that you have done and continue to do for the growth and strengthening of our dance community and for building connections beyond.
2013 Recipient - Vanessa Jackson Johnson
Vanessa is Professor of Dance and Coordinator of the Dance Program at Coppin State University – a dance program geared towards connecting World and Contemporary Dance forms, and the only dance program offering a major area of study by a historical Black College & University in the United States. Vanessa is also the Founding Director of the Urban Contemporary Dance Festival and BRAVO! Youth Dance Program sponsored through Coppin State University and an online dance program called Dancing at a Distance. As a performing artist, Vanessa has toured and presented nationally and internationally as an independent dancer, choreographer, and dance educator. She worked with Jawola Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women), Karel Shook, and Tranaquil LeClercq (Dance Theatre of Harlem), Frank Hatchett (Broadway Dance Center) and Wally Saunders (Baltimore Ballet Company), and elsewhere. She has studied in West Africa with the Guinea Ballet and performed throughout Cuba with Alvin Mayes as a guest artist as well as appeared as a guest artist for several regional dance companies. She is also a certified Body Logic Body Rolling Therapist. Vanessa taught at Peabody Institute, Towson University, and UMBC and chaired the dance dept. at Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), where she directed Dimensional Dance Media, before joining the faculty at Coppin State University. Vanessa has taught and presented at national and international conferences including: American College Dance Festival and Maryland Council for Dance State Festival, the National Dance Association Page-to-Stage conference, and The International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Congress in Seoul, Korea. Now, she focuses most of her time teaching Vinyasa yoga classes and offering career coaching for artists through her company, Changing Heart Yoga Dance, LLC.
2012 Recipient - Alvin Mayes
Alvin Mayes’ research involves making dance for diverse communities. 2012 and 2013 were particularly productive. Fall 2013 he was invited to create e a new work for Community College of Baltimore County Dream Catchersand to re stage Eireann Kente for The Maryland Youth Ballet for its spring 2014 season. In summer 2012 he was invited to Manta, Ecuador to work with contemporary dance company Compañía Ceibadanza. Los Ojos Sobre Manabí, which he created there was accepted into XI Festival Internacional “Fragmentos de Junio” 2013 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In summer 2013 he received a grant from the Greenbaum Charitable Foundation to return to Ecuador to create a new work for the youth of Manta, Escenas del Oeste and a collaborative work with Compañía Ceibadanza: Momentos en Tiempo (por fotografías de nos famílias) and Desdamona.