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 Tuesday, August 25, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Faculty Focus
Inside CU's faculty profile series
Faculty Focus

Our faculty are a source of great pride and bring a world of expertise, experimentation and excellence to our students and our community. Meet Nada Diachenko, professor
in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Diachenko joined the faculty in the fall of 1988 after a 25-year professional dance career in New York City, NY and teaching at New York University.

What drew you to your field of expertise, and keeps you passionate about your work?

My field of expertise is dance and dance education with a focus in dance science and somatic methods (experiential movement systems that focus on mind-body integration). My passion for dance and curiosity about how the body moves began as a young child. I entered the professional dance field at age 16, performing with the Baltimore Opera Ballet Company and teaching dance. Throughout my 40-year career as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, artistic director, and administrator, I have been able to express all aspects of myself and work in a field where creativity, collaboration, interpersonal interaction and celebration of the human spirit is valued. The ability to fulfill my inner drive to create and share what I have learned with others is what keeps me passionate about my work.

One major aspect of my work that continues to excite and inspire me is my ongoing study of the human body – how it moves and how it can move better. Early in my career, I trained and danced in New York City with Erick Hawkins, a pioneer in creating an approach to training dancers by integrating somatics and dance technique. In-depth studies of many somatic methods and certification in the Alexander Technique have expanded my ability to help dancers and other performers enhance their technique and performance.

What do you most enjoy and what is the most challenging aspect of your profession?

Since I am involved in a variety of aspects of the dance profession, it is difficult to isolate the most challenging aspect. I would have to say the general lack of funding for the arts, specifically for dance, in both the professional world and in academe, and the lack of understanding of the value of dance education in K-12 are two major challenges of the dance profession. In addressing the challenges of dance in higher education, I find that there is an ongoing need to educate administrators and colleagues in other fields about the contribution and value of a dance education.

At this stage of my career, I most enjoy the rewards of working closely with students in their creative process and personal growth as artists, scholars, and educators. I also enjoy the wonderful CU dance faculty who respect and support each other, allowing for ease and creativity in day-to-day problem solving and collaborative projects.

What are your favorite interests and activities apart from your work?

When not working at CU, I spend time working on myself with ongoing study in the Alexander Technique, Pilates, and yoga. Being in nature, especially on tropical beaches, is necessary. I also enjoy daily walks/hikes, cooking, and volunteer work giving spiritual healings. I enjoy national and international travel, presenting workshops in dance and the Alexander Technique.


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