SRU dance professor Melissa Teodoro receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award


Dancers performing

Palenque is a student-run Colombian dance ensemble at Slippery Rock University led by dance professor Melissa Teodoro, who recently received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award in Colombia in spring 2025.

June 26, 2024

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Melissa Teodoro, a Slippery Rock University dance professor, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award for the 2024-25 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

During her sabbatical leave in the spring of 2025, Teodoro will examine specific dance forms that were born and practiced in the South American country of Colombia, specifically along the banks of the Magdalena River, a 950-mile waterway that represents the country's complex history and fertile culture.

"My goal is to understand the symbiotic relationship between the river and the dances," Teodoro said. "I intend to do this through the examination of the movement vocabulary, choreographic patterns, costume, history and the emotional intention behind dance forms."

Teodoro's research will be the basis of an evening length production that will feature dance, music, audio visual projection and narrative performed by Palenque, a student-run Colombian dance ensemble at SRU that she leads.



"As a dance ethnologist and choreographer, I'm able to capture these dances and understand their cultural significance," Teodoro said. "With much respect and artistry, I have the skills to create and share my own interpretations of these dances with communities in western Pennsylvania."

While in Colombia, Teodoro will also work with students and faculty at her host institution, Universidad del Atlántico in the city of Barranquilla.

Teodoro will be one of more than 800 faculty, researchers, administrators and established professionals who teach or conduct research abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program each year. Fulbright Scholars engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions.

Upon returning to their home countries, Fulbright Scholars share their stories and often become active supporters of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has supported more than 400,000 award recipients, including 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, 41 heads of state or government, and thousands of leaders across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Fulbright is a program of the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 countries.

More information about the Fulbright Program is available online.

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