Ursula Payne, Professor at Slippery Rock University of PA, received her M.F.A. in Dance from The Ohio State University and is a Certified Movement Analyst. Her teaching and creative scholarship integrates the application of LMA, Dance notation, African-American history, women’s issues, and performance techniques within the creative process. Since 2002, Ursula has also been on faculty at the American Dance Festival teaching Motif writing, a short hand form of Labanotation, and the Primus Archive Project, which utilizes the archives of Dr. Pearl Primus as inspiration for generating original choreography. In 2007 she became the Director of the Dance Professionals Workshop.
Ms. Payne has presented several academic papers in national and international conferences. For example In the Spirit of Pearl: the Dr. Pearl Primus Collection was presented and published in the conference proceedings at the Society of Dance History Scholars conference in June of 2008. Her most recent paper titled Story of the Bones (2009) was presented at the Congress on Research in Dance and The Centre for Excellence in Performance Arts Special Topics Conference: Global Perspective on Dance Pedagogy Research and Practice at De Montfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom. Her paper Principles for Achieving Success in the Academy was selected for inclusion in the anthology Women of Color in The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education: Reclaiming Our Voices and Our Professional Space edited by Vivian Yenika-Agbaw and Amarilis Hidalgo-De Jesus professors at Bloomsburg University. The paper will appear as the 1st chapter of the book that is contracted to be published by University Press of America.
Ms. Payne’s choreography has been awarded four prestigious Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Choreographic Fellowships from 2000-2006. Her creative research has resulted in over 150 performances produced in recognized professional public as well as academic theaters and festivals such as 2009 American Dance Guild’s Performance Series, New York City’s Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Downtown Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop’s Fresh Tracks Series, Movement Research at Judson Church, and HERE Culturemart Series, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inside Out Series Lee, MA; The Dance Place, Washington, D.C.; the Community Education Center, Philadelphia, PA; Theater on Elm Street, Dallas, TX; Conwell Dance Theater, Philadelphia, PA; Susan Hess Modern Dance Center, In Performance Series; Philadelphia, PA; and The Dance Place, Washington D.C. Internationally, Payne has toured to Monaco Danses Dances Forum in Monte Carlo, Monaco; Belize City, Belize; the Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists, Toronto, Canada; The Edinboro Festival in Scotland and The National College Dance Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. Her dance career has enabled her to travel to 5 continents, 14 countries and 19 states.
Ms. Payne has taught, performed and/or been commissioned to create choreography as a guest artist at the following educational institutions: Loyola Marymount University, Duke University’s Nasher Museum, National Taiwan University of the Arts, The University of Memphis, Temple University, Frostburg State University, The Ohio State University, Kent State University, Youngstown State University, Howard University, Trinity College, Ohio University, Middle Tennessee State University, Alfred University, California State University at Sacremento, Texas Women’s University, Spelman College, and the University of Oregon.
Payne has also worked as a dancer with Dianne McIntyre, one of the premier African-American female choreographers of our time. She was invited by Ms. McIntyre to perform as a dancer in Love Poems to God in national venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, GA. Ms. Payne also appeared by invitation of Ms. McIntyre as a dancer in the motion picture adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Beloved that featured Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover in the lead roles. McIntyre’s choreography deals poignantly with the black experience and she has been critically acclaimed and praised for her innovative presentation of black culture.