Since its inception in the 70s, the dance program at Williams has been a home to many students. Every now and then, a member of the dance department continues to study the performing arts in a professional capacity. They are good resources, and love talking about their experience and their growth as performing artists.
The following alumni/ae are just a small sample of those who have come through the dance department at Williams. For a full list, visit the Williams College Alumni Directory, a searchable database of alumni/ae with class year, career, and contact information.
Julia Foulkes ’86
Julia Foulkes taught courses at the New School University in New York City in 20th century U.S. history. She received her Ph.D. in history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her book on the development of modern dance in America is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press. In February 2001, she was an onscreen commentator and consultant for “Free to Dance,” a PBS documentary, which traces the history of African Americans in dance. She was a Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago in 1997-98.
Erica Dankmeyer ’91
Erica Dankmeyer, artistic director, dancer, choreographer, and teacher, began her ballet training with Paul Curtis and Anna Bena in California. She studied Modern and African dance at Williams, where she returns annually as a guest artist. Ms. Dankmeyer has been a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 1996, has performed in many Graham ballets, such as the Woman in Yellow in Diversion of Angels. Dankmeyer has choreographed works for herself and for members of the Graham Company and Ensemble, which have been presented around the United States. She is on the faculty of the Martha Graham School and has taught at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater, Williams College, and Marymount Manhattan College.
Jae Greunke ’92
Jae Greunke began her dance training at Williams (where she majored in literary studies) and through a cross-enrollment program at Bennington College. Upon graduating from Williams in 1992, she was awarded a Hutchinson Fellowship, which allowed her to move to New York and further her training. She has performed with a wide range of downtown choreographers, including 3-D Dance/Blue Man Group, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Neo Labos Dance Theatre, Vera Huff, and Gotham Group Dance. She is currently dancing with Sarah Skaggs Dance and Ben Munisteri. Greunke is also the owner of Intelligent Exercise Personal Training, through which she works as a personal trainer/somatic educator. Her writing on dance and movement has appeared in the Village Voice, American Dance, and on IndiePlanet.com. She is currently training to become a Feldenkrais practitioner.
Mayda del Valle ’00
Mayda Del Valle hails from Chicago’s South Side, where she began performing her own writing while in high school. She relocated to New York City in October of 2000, after graduating from Williams with a B.A. in art. One of del Valle’s first stops was the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe. In spite of never having performed poetry competitively, she won the Nuyorican’s Grand Slam Championship and went on to the National Poetry Slam in Seattle in August of 2001. There she won the Individual National Poetry Slam title and became the first poet from the Nuyorican, the youngest poet and the first Latina to win the title. Del Valle was featured on the HBO series “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.” She has also been featured in El Diario, Urban Latino, Mass Appeal, and The New York Times. She has performed at NYU, Columbia University, UT Austin, USC, the Public Theater and Joe’s Pub, and recently showcased a one-woman show at the HERE Arts Center in New York City.
Will Rawls ’00
Will Rawls is a performer, independent choreographer, and curator based in New York City. His work has appeared at Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, Dixon Place, the Brooklyn Museum, ISE Cultural Foundation, and Mount Tremper Arts. Since 2006, Rawls has collaborated with Kennis Hawkins as the performance art duo, Dance Gang. He has performed with Shen Wei Dance Arts, Noemie LaFrance, nicholasleichterdance, Katie Workum, Neal Medlyn and David Neumann/advanced beginner group. In 2010, Rawls was an interpreter in Tino Sehgal’s “This Progress” at the the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and re-performed works by Marina Abramovic at the Museum of Modern Art. Rawls is a guest artist at Bard College and a student mentor for Colorado College’s department of drama and dance.
Sankofa Alum on Sankofa
Funmi Olosunde ‘06: “Sankofa allows me to be the instrument as opposed to dancing to musical instruments. You are the music and you are making the music with your hands and your feet. Through Sankofa you are utilizing your body to be the music and to make the rhythm.”
Gape Machao ‘06: “Sankofa is a family. It is a place where I can go to relax, forget about all the academic stress and pressures and hang out with people I work with. It is also a place for creativity where we can create something extraordinary out of nothing. Having this place means a lot to me.”