(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — Bessie Award-winning dance artist Gerald Casel was appointed professor and head of the dance department at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Casel comes to Rutgers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is currently Provost of Porter College, Associate Professor of Theater Arts, and Director of Graduate Studies.
For more than two decades, Casel served as executive artistic director of GERALDCASELDANCE, a Bay Area company focused on racial equity. GERALDCASELDANCE was presented by Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, National Center for Choreography Akron, Kuan Du Arts Festival, ODC Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Movement Research at Judson Church and Jacob’s Pillow ( Interior/Exterior), among others.
Casel says he looks forward to collaborating with students, faculty and staff at Mason Gross, especially now, as various institutions go through a period of self-reflection and attempt to nurture communities that embody inclusivity.
“At this unique time, we have an opportunity to reinvent the systems and ways in which we operationalize equity so that our students, faculty, and staff have a deep sense of belonging,” Casel says.
Tackling issues of equity is nothing new to Casel, who has long been engaged in this work in the classroom, on stage, and in the wider community: his research interests include movement practices based on somatics, critical dance and race studies, and the United States. post/modern dance. In 2018, he initiated and facilitated a year-long community engagement residency in the Bay Area known as Dance around the race, which involved engaging people in candid conversations about race and the dynamics of equity in the world of dance. Casel’s company regularly delves into issues around colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness, privilege and implicit and explicit power structures.
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Additionally, Casel says he looks forward to deepening the department’s ties with the vibrant dance community in New York City and beyond.
“I am excited to see how we can integrate our students into established networks of creative practice, critical dance research, and emerging technologies through performance,” says Casel, who served as Principal Dancer with the Stephen Petronio Company. from 1991 to 2004 and performed with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the Zvi Gotheiner Dance Company, among others. He holds a BFA from The Juilliard School and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Mason Gross School dean Jason Geary says he expects Casel to bring crucial experience on and off stage to enrich the department, whose alumni include Bessie Award winner Kyle Marshall and Stephanie Klemons, Drama Desk Award Winner, Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical Original Dance Captain hamilton.
“Gerald’s distinguished career as a dancer and choreographer, his extensive administrative experience, and his proven commitment to fostering inclusivity in the field will be essential in helping the program achieve ever-higher levels of excellence and visibility,” Geary said.
Photo credit: Katherine Helen Fisher
The dance department at the Mason Gross School of the Arts promotes excellence at the intersection of dance performance, creative achievement and research. As professional artist-educators, dance teachers provide expert direction in all three areas of the program: technique and performance, choreography, and theoretical studies, with an emphasis on cultivating a community of dance artists. high caliber, collaborative and multidimensional. The department offers five degree programs: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Dance Education, and Dual Bachelor of Fine Arts/Master of Dance Education. Students have the opportunity to audition and perform with the department’s outreach program, University DanceWorks. Additionally, they can collaborate with professional companies and choreographers in residence and participate in masterclasses with notable industry professionals.
Established in 1976, Mason Gross School of the Arts is New Jersey’s flagship public art conservatory and a division of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the nation’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning, a top Big Ten public research university with more than 66,000 students, and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The Mason Gross School is home to the departments of Art and Design, Dance, Music, and Theater as well as Rutgers Community Arts, Rutgers Arts Online, the Rutgers Filmmaking Center, and the Rutgers Print Collaborative. The school has approximately 843 undergraduate and 240 graduate students in five disciplines, supported by approximately 370 faculty and 65 staff. Mason Gross students come from 21 countries. Mason Gross is one of the most selective schools in Rutgers – New Brunswick, ensuring students have the opportunity to work closely with accomplished artists in their fields.
Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the preeminent and comprehensive public institution of higher education in the State of New Jersey. Founded in 1766, the university is the eighth oldest institution of higher education in the United States. More than 70,000 students and 23,400 full- and part-time faculty and staff learn, work and serve the public at Rutgers locations in New Jersey and around the world.