Sandra Parks: 2015 Women In Dance Leadership Conference

This week we have dancer, choreographer, and founder of Women in Dance:

Headshot_Sandra Parks

Sandra Parks

Sandra Shih Parks received her BFA in Dance from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and her MFA in Choreography from Smith College, MA. Originally from Taiwan, Sandra danced as a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company in Taipei. She toured nationally and internationally with a Broadway production of the King And I. While directing her own production, she performed and choreographed over 80 live concerts. After moving to Boston, she danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective, and Impulse Dance Company.

Sandra has presented work at venues that include Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Dixon Place, and Manhattan Center in New York City; Boston University Theater, Strand Theater, and Dance Complex in Boston, MA; 14th Street Playhouse and The Marcus Jewish Center in Atlanta, GA; Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, TN; Xinzhuang Cultural Performing Arts Center in Taipei. She also created commissioned work for Bosoma Dance Company in Boston, Cangelosi Dance Project and Of Moving Colors in Baton Rouge, LA. Sandra was a member of the faculties at Boston University, Bridgewater State College, Colleges of Fenway, Kennesaw State University, Regis College, Smith College, and National Taiwan University of Arts. She is currently the Head of Dance Program and assistant professor at Louisiana State University.

Sandra was one of Dance Canvas’ choreographers for our 2012 Performance Series. Sandra tells us:

“Creating a work for Dance Canvas was a delightful experience for me. It was a pleasure to work with the director, Angela Harris, and it also provided me a great opportunity to observe and learn from all of the choreographers that Angela and her selection committee chose for the performance that year.”

Since her season with us, Sandra’s already successful dance career, went to even greater heights!

“Being the Head of Dance at LSU is rewarding and inspiring because of the passion of the students, the support I enjoy from the Baton Rouge dance community, and the community of artists I enjoy from my colleagues at LSU. Since coming to LSU, I have collaborated with School of Music, College of Art and Design, Asian Studies, and Chinese studies. I had the opportunity to take students and faculty to perform at professional venues in Baton Rouge, in New York City, and produced my own dance concert in Boston, MA. These experiences would not be possible without my department’s support. I also had an opportunity to bring seven students to study Flamenco in Seville, Spain because of the support of Baton Rouge community.”

Now, she is the founder of her own organization, Women in Dance. The goal of Women in Dance is to investigate, explore, and reflect on women’s leadership by representing innovative and multicultural dance work to celebrate, develop, and promote women’s leadership in dance making, dance related fields, and other male dominated professions.

As a performer while I was younger, I have witnessed the unbalanced portion of male directors versus female directors. Later in my career as a choreographer and educator, I also experienced the male dominance in the dance field. When I first came to Baton Rouge, I met all of the directors for professional dance companies and professional theaters. Almost every director is female, and this really encouraged me to look into the current make-up of the major dance companies in the U.S. and how Baton Rouge Community compares to the U.S. community. Not to my surprise, in the U.S. only 30% of the major dance companies were directed by female, and because of this big difference, I believe it is necessary to celebrate the fact that Baton Rouge has all these female leaders in dance making. This was how I came up with the idea of “Women in Dance”.”

You can be a part of the first annual Women in Dance Leadership Conference this year!

Women in Dance L.L.C. and Manship Theater are collaborating to host the Women in Dance Leadership Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from October 29th, 2015 – November 1st, 2015 at the Shaw Center for the Arts/Manship Theatre.

Keynote speakers: Dr. Susan Leigh Foster, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowships recipient and a world-renowned leader in dance research. Dr. Ann Dils who received the Dixie Durr Award for Outstanding Service to Dance Research from the Congress on Research in Dance and currently the president of the Congress on Research in Dance. .

Featured dance companies: We will feature ODC Dance Company from San Francisco, founded by Brenda Way in 1971 with three resident choreographers (Brenda Way, KT Nelson, and Kimi Okada) who have received Guggenheim, NEA American Masterpiece Award, 30 years of NEA fellowships and production grants, seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, two Nureyev Awards, a San Francisco Examiner Golden Slipper Award, and a Tony nomination. ODC has been hailed as “Best Dance Company” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 editions.

Individual Female Soloists/Panelists: Blakely White-Mcguire, who is a principal dancer from the world renowned Martha Graham Dance Company. Yin Mei, who is a Fulbright scholarship and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. Amy Hall Garner, a graduate from The Julliard School and one of the first recipients of the Joffrey Ballet’s Choreography of Color Award. The companies and female soloists will share their artistic experience with the participants of the conference through live performances, master class, and panel discussions.

Early Registration is available now! Check out for more information!

Thank you, Sandra Parks!

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