Dance Instructors

Diane Frank

Diane FrankLecturer, Modern Dance, Merce Cunningham Technique, Choreography. After completing a B.F.A in Theater (Ohio University) and an M.A. in Dance (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana), Diane Frank taught for four years in the Dance Department at the University of Maryland, where she was a founding member of the Maryland Dance Theater. She then moved to New York City to begin an eleven-year career with Douglas Dunn and Dancers, touring nationally and internationally. As a scholarship student, she was invited by Merce Cunningham to join the teaching staff of the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, where she taught for eight years. At Cunningham’s request, she taught both technique and repertory at the American Center’s Atelier Cunningham in Paris. A frequent guest teacher at the Paris Opera, she assisted Douglas Dunn in both the creation of new work for the Opera and the setting of established repertory. Frank has been the recipient of seven NEA Choreography Fellowships for collaborative choreographic projects with Deborah Riley, as well as commissions from the Jerome Foundation, DTW, Dance Bay Area, and Meet the Composer, and Arts Silicon Valley. Her work has been performed both in the United States and abroad.

At Stanford since 1988, Frank teaches intermediate and advanced modern technique, choreography, and mentors graduate and undergraduate student dance projects. She organizes and advises Stanford’s student participation in the American College Dance Festival as well as other Divisional dance education and performance projects on- and off-campus. She also organizes numerous choreographic commissions by guest artists for Stanford student dancers, frequently acting as Rehearsal Director, setting and maintaining works by choreographers as diverse as Elizabeth Streb, Holly Johnston, Brenda Way, Parijat Desai, Hope Mohr, Janice Garrett, among others. In 2005, she contributed to the development of Stanford Lively Arts’ campus-wide interdisciplinary arts event “Encounter: Merce,” organizing its “Music and Dance by Chance” commissions, as well as an IHUM lecture series on Cunningham’s video dances and concert repertory. She has twice taught Cunningham repertory in Stanford workshop classes, as well as coordinated intensive repertory workshops during company performance residencies in conjunction with Stanford Lively Arts.

Frank has been instrumental in developing a number of residency projects and artistic collaborations for the Dance Division. Highlights include: the repertory reconstruction project of Anna Halprin’s "Myths"; Hope Mohr's "Under the skin," a collaborative performance project bringing together artists, physicians and residents from the Medical School, and community performers; Elizabeth Streb's "Crash" performed by Stanford dancers/gymnasts with Streb's company on Stanford's Memorial Auditorium stage; and "Cantor:Rewired," site-specific outdoor iterations of Parijat Desai's work fusing Southeast Asian classical Indian dance with post-Modern choreographic strategies. Spring 2010, she assisted Ann Carlson in the organization of her walking performance event, "Still Life with Decoy". In 2011, she assisted in the reconstruction of Anna Sokolow's signature masterpiece, "Rooms". Frank also teaches “The Duets Project,” a performance class that examines partnering through duet repertory. Strongly interested in site-specific performance, Frank teaches a theory course “Figure/Ground: Site-Specific Dance Performance in Outdoor Environments.” To complement this course, she conceived and organized "Red Rover" and "Construction Site," a series of commissioned site-specific dance performances traversing Stanford campus. Frank instituted the Firework Series, a quarterly informal showing of student work followed by discussion among artists and audience. She also conceived and organized the Bay Area Dance Exchange (BADE), now in its sixth year and thriving. BADE structures day-long intensives hosted by Stanford for Bay Area college and university dance programs; schools gather to share studio practices, creative processes, and performances of works. Frank's recent choreography includes the site-specific duet "Cleave," the duet series "Sea Change," the screen dance "Arcadian Array," and "Escalating Overlap". In 2012, her choreography "Twilight Composite" was selected by the American College Dance Festival for the National Gala; Stanford dancers performed the work at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She was named Dance Teacher of the Year by Dance Teacher Magazine in 2012. Frank is a frequent guest teacher at Bay Area dance studios, colleges, and universities. A strong proponent of arts education, she consults and volunteers in the development of dance and live arts activities for public schools and the community. She has also directed the Dance Division’s summer dance intensive for high school students through US Performing Arts. Frank has twice served as Acting Director of the Dance Division, in Autumn 2011 and academic year 2011-12.


Aleta Hayes

Aleta HayesLecturer, Contemporary Dance and Performance. Aleta Hayes is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, performer, and teacher. Before her appointment at Stanford, Ms. Hayes taught for eight years at Princeton University in the Program in Theater and Dance and the Program in African American Studies. While at Princeton, Ms. Hayes developed pedagogically innovative courses that combined cultural and performance history, theory, and performance. She has also taught at Wesleyan University, Swarthmore College, and Rutgers University. Ms. Hayes holds an M.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A., with Departmental Honors, in Drama, Dance and the Visual Arts from Stanford University (1991).

Aleta Hayes lived and worked in New York City for fifteen years, choreographing solo and group dance pieces, in which her performances often interpolated acting and singing. Highlights include: Hatsheput, presented at the Place Theater, London and St. Marks Church, New York; Tarantantara, presented at Jacob’s Pillow; and La Chanteuse Nubienne (written by playwright Daniel Alexander Jones), performed for Movement Research at Judson Church. Ms. Hayes collaborated, as choreographer and dance/vocal soloist, with the poet Yusef Komunyakaa and composer William Banfield, on Ish-Scoodah, a chamber opera with dance about the nineteenth century African American sculptor, Edmonia Lewis. She also had leading roles in major works by other artists such as Jane Comfort (the trip-hop dance/opera Asphalt, with a book by Carl Hancock Rux) and Robert Wilson (the opera The Temptation of St Anthony, with gospel and other African American spiritual music forms and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon). Ms. Hayes has continued to perform in the subsequent international presentations of The Temptation of St Anthony.

In 2004, Ms. Hayes returned to Stanford on a Ford Foundation Resident Dialogues Fellowship through the Committee on Black Performing Arts, for which she created The Wedding Project, a performance piece of multiple genres illustrating the evolution of American social dance through the narrative of African American wedding traditions. She extended this "theater of mixed forms" (the critic Anna Kisselgoff’s term) into community dialogue when she was a 2005 Peninsula Community Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Eastside Preparatory School in East Palo Alto. That residence culminated in The ReMix Project, where she collaborated with students to create and perform a montage of music, monologue, and movement examining student aspirations in a low-income, racially-mixed neighborhood.

Since 2005, Ms. Hayes has had many leading roles as a dancer, singer and actor including, most notably: Suzan-Lori Park’s In the Blood, directed by Prof. Harry Elam, (2005): In the spring of 2006, she choreographed, danced, spoke, and sang a multimedia solo piece, Deianeira (an adoption of Sophocles’ Women of Trachis) created for Ms. Hayes and directed by Drama and Classics Professor Rush Rehm: She created a solo piece, Califia, which developed out of a residency at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program (2007), and a Stanford Humanities Lab Grant/Fellowship (2006) in collaboration with CCRMA-Center for Computer Music and Acoustics (involving human computer interaction): She wrote, sang, acted, and co-directed an original work in the Stanford Drama Department based on T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land titled, The Waste Land in Black and White (2009).
The Chocolate Heads Movement Band, founded by Hayes in 2009 to the present, is a platform for performers of many genres. The troupe’s name is a descriptor for a “movement driven band” comprised of dancers, musicians, visual artists, performance poets and writers—referencing both dance and social movement as motivating forces for the work. In 2011, the Chocolate Heads were invited to perform at STAN: Society, Technology, Art and Nature—a prototype TED X talk at Stanford University.

Hayes’ latest dance-music performance installation, ‘Singing the Rooms-Performance of the Everyday’, is a collaboration with New York based composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist, Cooper Moore—a dramatic song cycle to be performed by her and collaborators in different domesticated spaces.

Alex Ketley

Alex KetleyAlex Ketley, Lecturer Ballet and Choreography. Alex Ketley is an independent choreographer and the director of The Foundry, a contemporary dance company based in San Francisco. Formally a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet (1994-1998), he performed a wide range of classical and contemporary repertory including the work of William Forsythe, James Kudelka, and George Balanchine in San Francisco and on tour throughout the world.

In 1998 he left the San Francisco Ballet to co-found The Foundry in order to explore his deepening interests in choreography, improvisation, mixed media work, and collaborative process. With The Foundry he has been an artist-in-residence at many leading art institutions including Headlands Center for the Arts (2001 and 2007), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2002), The Yard (2003), the Santa Fe Art Institute (2004 and 2006), the Taipei Artist Village (2005), ODC Theater (2006), and the Ucross Foundation (2007). The Foundry has produced fifteen full evening length works that have received extensive support from the public, funders, and the press, as well as a number of single-channel video pieces that have screened at international video festivals.

As a choreographer independent of his work with The Foundry, Alex Ketley has been commissioned to create original pieces for companies and universities throughout the United States and Europe. For this work he has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street 2 National Choreographic Competition (2001), the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur (2004), the National Choo-San Goh Award (2005), the inaugural Princess Grace Award for Choreography (2005), the BNC National Choreographic Competition (2008), three CHIME Fellowships (2007, 2008, and 2012), two Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies (2007 and 2009), the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Commissioning Award (2009), and the National Eben Demarest Award (2012). His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards in the categories of Outstanding Achievement by an Ensemble (2009), Outstanding Achievement in Choreography (2011), and Outstanding Achievement by a Company (2011 & 2012).

For 2011, in addition to commissions from Ballet Leipzig and the Juilliard School, his AXIS Dance Company work “To Color Me Different” was presented on national television through an invitation from the show So You Think You Can Dance. With The Foundry in 2012, he was deeply engaged in a new project entitled “No Hero” which explored what dance means and how it is experienced by people throughout more rural parts of the United States. The video projection Alex created for No Hero was nominated for a 2012 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.

In early 2013, he was a visiting professor and artist at Florida State University, where he taught ballet, created a new work, and served as an advisor to the MFA students in their choreography. He was also awarded the first Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Mentorship Co-Commission Award (CMCC), which he is using to work on a collaborative project with Miguel Guiterrez in 2014.

Along with his direction of The Foundry and his various independent projects, he helped Summer Lee Rhatigan create The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in 2004, an organization where he still serves as an advisor, teacher, and the Resident Choreographer. Stemming from a classical foundation, the school is deeply invested in advanced students learning and growing though the engagement of contemporary choreography.



Richard Powers

Richard PowersLecturer, Social dance forms of North America. Richard Powers is one of the world’s foremost experts in American social dance, noted for his choreographies for dozens of stage productions and films, and his workshops in Paris, Rome, Prague, London, Venice, Geneva, St. Petersburg, and Tokyo as well as across the United States and Canada. He has been researching and reconstructing historic social dances for thirty years and is currently a full-time instructor at Stanford’s Dance Division.

Powers was selected by the Centennial Issue of Stanford Magazine as one of Stanford University’s most notable graduates of its first century. In 1999 he was awarded the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for distinctive and exceptional contributions to education at Stanford University.


Emeritus Lecturers

Susan Cashion

Susan CashionSenior Lecturer Emerita, Mexican Dance, Latin American Dance. Susan Cashion received her Ph.D. in Education (Stanford University, 1983), M.A. in Anthropology (Stanford University, 1982), and M.A. in Dance (UCLA, 1967). She joined the Dance faculty in 1972 and is a teacher of dance anthropology, modern dance, Mexican dance, and Latin American dance forms at Stanford.

Cashion was the Coordinator of the Dance Division from June 1987 to September 2002. She was the recipient of two Fulbright grants (one to Mexico and one to Chile), an American Association of University Women Fellowship, and received recognition from the Mexican government for contributions to Mexican culture and folklore in the United States. Cashion is the former President of the California Dance Educators Association, member of the Board of Directors for Congress on Research in Dance, and Artistic Director of the Grupo Folklórico Los Lupeños de San Jose.