Marissa Hallo Tafura’s interest in dance began at a young age, while her passion for intercultural learning developed much later, as an undergraduate studying abroad in Ghana. She is very excited to be able to bridge these two interests through her teaching. One of the most meaningful times in her life was the first year she spent immersed in Ghanaian culture. It was an experience that disrupted much of her ingrained thinking about her national and racial identity and privilege and it inspired her to engage with media, politics and the arts in a much more critical way. As a graduate student in dance at CU Boulder, she deepened her understanding of issues related to race, gender, class and sexuality and found that the study of dance and culture is a fascinating way for many students to explore issues that often feel intimidating.
She’s thrilled to be working with students in several of CU’s RAPs, where there are opportunities to investigate engaging topics, from issues of appropriation in Miley Cyrus’s twerking to the representation of hierarchy in European court dance. When not in the classroom, she enjoys weekly Ghanaian dance classes with her toddler son on the drums, as well as traveling to Zimbabwe each year to visit family.