Faculty

All of the dance faculty at Iowa State are practicing professionals in the dance arts. They perform, choreograph, and lead workshops throughout the state as well as for regional and national events.

Specialists in dance education, the faculty provide resources for movement in the classroom and for special populations. Active in theatre, they choreograph, perform and direct for actors and ISU Theatre. In the field of concert dance, they co-direct their own companies and Iowa Dance Theatre, as well as making guest appearances with Co’Motion Dance Theatre, I Works, Gateway Dance Theatre, and The Bill Evans Dance Company.

Students are often provided opportunities to integrate their own interests into the ongoing professional activities of the dance faculty. They may share hands-on experiences in “Lifemoves,” they may be asked to perform in the theatre or concert setting, or they may develop expertise in the related fields of public relations, theatrical or costume design, and musical composition.

Cynthia Adams, MA, RYT500, ACSM

Cynthia Adams joined the ISU dance faculty in the Fall of 2010. Ms. Adams holds a M.A. in Choreography/Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. in Pre-Dance Therapy from New York University in New York City. Ms. Adams has taught as a guest artist at Mills College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cabrillo College, the University of California at Berkeley, and San Jose State University, as well as in numerous studios teaching ongoing classes and workshops in dance and somatic practices.

At ISU, Cynthia teaches all levels of modern, ballet, yoga, dance composition and dance history. As the advisor for the student organization, Orchesis 1, she teaches company class, books guest artists, choreographs, and serves as the artistic director for Barjche, held in Fisher Auditorium in February.

Ms. Adams began performing her solo and group work in N.Y.C. in 1981. Her choreographic, film and video/dance works have since been seen across the country, Canada and Germany. In 1992 she formed Fellow Travelers Performance Group (www.FTPG.org), a dance theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area with Ken James. Over the years FTPG has received numerous grants and awards in addition to performing in many curated festivals in California, Vancover, BC, Wisconsin and Iowa. As a “micro-producer”, FTPG has produced over 100 Bay Area artists in showcases and festivals including the Month of Sundays and The Women on the Edge Festivals.

In 2008 Ms. Adams received a CHIME grant (Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange) from the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. During the year long residency Ms. Adams collaborated with video artist Douglas Rosenberg, electronic music composer Amy X Neuberg and choreographer Deborah Slater to create a multi media performance piece. In May 2003 Ms. Adams performed in the FTPG production of ‘Tales of a Woman’, a one-woman multimedia, dance theater evening. Ms. Adams has performed professionally with Kei Takei’s Moving Earth, Marijoh Danztheater, Dziga Vertov Performance Group, Project Bandaloop, Heidi Duckler’s Collage Dance Theater, Sten Rudstrom, Li Chiao-Ping Dance, and Shotgun Theater Players among others.

As a choreographer Cynthia’s mission is to create dance theater pieces that reach beyond the day-to-day existence in our lives using personal histories to touch on the universality of being human. This unique physical form of storytelling incorporates movement and text with props and other media becoming at times surreal in nature stretching beyond the truth to absurdity.

Cynthia’s passion for movement has generated years of research and exploration of the body in motion with particular interest in somatic practices and the mind/body connection. In addition to her dance training Cynthia is nationally certified to teach in both Pilates and Iyengar style yoga, is a registered yoga teacher at the 500 level, and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Personal Trainer. Cynthia’s most recent explorations and trainings involve raising her son with her husband!

Janice Baker

Janice Baker is an Assistant Professor in Dance, holding a B.F.A. from the University of Utah and an M.S. from Kansas State University. A Des Moines native, Janice’s activities in the world of dance have influenced and nurtured all corners of the state and all ages and populations of Iowa’s moving human community.

At ISU, Janice teaches classes in ballet, jazz, modern dance, tap, social and folk dance, pedagogy, elementary and secondary movement education, and teaching dance for the physical body. She directs the ISU Dance Tour Company and is the faculty adviser for Orchesis II, Cyclone Ballroom, ISU Breakers, TAP ISU, and Cyclone Swing Society. In this capacity she directs and produces Footfalls, the fall studio concert, Images of Dance, the spring studio concert, and stages the dancing for Madrigal Dinners, the medieval music/movement/culinary extravaganza produced in the Memorial Union each January. With the Tour Company, Janice presents lecture demonstrations and performances for a variety of campus and off-campus events, including university extension programs, and the Iowa public schools.

Janice’s teaching career encompasses a vast array of experiences. She teaches for the New Visions Dance Project and represented Very Special Arts Iowa at the International Festival of Very Special Arts at the Kennedy center. She has been the owner/director of The Dance Place, a private studio in Des Moines since 1983, where she teaches all technical styles and creative movement for children and adults. Janice is an Associate Director of Iowa Dance Theatre which links many area studios in diverse educational and performing activities. One such activity is the Summer Dance Workshop, which brings nationally and internationally-known guest artists into Iowa State to choreograph, perform and teach during June/July. She has given master classes for the Donna Reed Festival, the American College Dance Festival, the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and public schools in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Madrid, and Fort Dodge. In association with her work in the public schools she is the recipient of a grant to update Iowa’s dance curriculum for the Iowa Department of Public Instruction.

Choreography, direction and performance in dance and musical theatre are as central to Janice’s daily life as breathing and driving. At ISU, she creates dances not only for all of the concerts she directs, but also for Barjche, the gala spring dance concert, and for ISU Theatre and ISU Music. She has choreographed for the Des Moines Ballet, Adventureland, Iowa Dance Theatre, the Ingersoll Dinner Theatre, as well as for many high school swing choirs and musicals. She has helped create, choreograph, direct, and produce original musical theatre productions and children’s theatre. As a long-time director for the Ingersoll Dinner Theatre, Janice has directed and choreographed over 50 musicals including 1776, Tintypes, Grease, Guys and Dolls, and The Red Garter Review. As a performer, some of her favorite roles have been Cassie in A Chorus Line, Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Mute in The Fantastiks, Essie in You Can’t Take it with You, and Agnes in I Do, I Do. 

Janice’s service activities have included acting as a panelist for the Iowa Arts Council and the Nebraska Arts Council as well as giving many years of service to the Iowa Dance Council and Bill Riley Talent search at the Iowa State Fair. She is the Chair for and has served for many years as a judge for the Iowa State Fair Talent Competitions. She has been instrumental in taking dance to such diverse locations as halfway houses, special education classrooms, nursing homes, and prisons.

Of ISU Dance, Janice says, “I see ISU as a community of dancers. We make connections between all forms of dance and all types of dancers. There is space here to grow and embrace dance as a lifetime activity.”