The University of North Carolina School of the Arts' 2009-2010 nominee for the Excellence in Teaching Award is Sean Sullivan, contemporary dance faculty member in the School of Dance. Mr. Sullivan earned a M.F.A in Dance in 1998 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the UNCSA faculty in Fall of 1998.
Mr. Sullivan is a master teacher in contemporary dance that inspires and motivates within his students a love for dancing and motivates his students to bring out a creative transaction in their work. Mr. Sullivan's notes in his Artist/Teaching Statement "If I am going to spend years looking at an object hanging on my living-room wall, or spend an evening at the theater, I want a change to occur in my body and to feel something from it... But my ambition with my students is to impart an appreciation that every moment, every gesture, every turn of the leg, every arch of the spine has the potential to mean something...is an opportunity to feel, and communicate."
Mr. Damian Wetzel, Director of the Vail International Festival, Artist-in-Residence at Aspen Institute, and former Principal Dancer for New York Ballet notes after reviewing Mr. Sullivan in class, "I found Mr. Sullivan teaches with enthusiasm and skill, and was able to relate sophisticated concepts to the students, inspiring them with them creative corrections tailored to teach student and not simply teaching to the class as a whole." This is also noted in Mr. Sullivan's student evaluations in which they refer to him as "inspiring, creative and innovative" in the classroom.
Mr. Sullivan is still actively performing and staying abreast of his craft through professional development, which he received several career development grants to study the latest techniques in contemporary dance to bring to his students. Assistant Dean of Contemporary Dance noted, "Mr. Sullivan has been tireless throughout the years at UNCSA in the exploration of new and traditional methods in the teaching of composition". Equally commendable is Mr. Sullivan's service to UNCSA in staging works and in choreography, as is his work with the NC Dance Alliance, the NC Festival of Dance and as an evaluator for the NC Arts Council.
He is a past recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004. I am pleased to recognized Sean Sullivan as one of the recipients of the 2010 UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Awards.