Colleen Barnes Merwin
she/her/hers Colleen Barnes danced professionally with the Dayton Ballet, Ballet Pensacola, and Dance Now! Miami, touring both domestically and abroad, in addition to free-lancing with the late David Holmes in British Columbia. Her favorite roles include Diego Salterini’s Chronicles; Hannah Baumgarten’s Unburden; Swan Lake’sPas de Trois; the Opera Singer in Gaite Parisienne; and the demi-soloist role in Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, among others. Since 2015 Colleen has served as the Artistic Director for Joffrey South, Joffrey Colorado Springs, and Joffrey Heartland Kansas City summer intensives. Through the Joffrey NY organization she has taught across the United States as well as internationally. She has worked at the Joffrey Ballet School since 2009, serving in both faculty and administrative roles. It is through this job that Colleen has come to work as a private coach – directing photo shoots, audition videos, and preparing dancers for ballet competitions/performances as needed. Currently, Colleen is working with New Jersey City University and Joffrey Ballet School to create syllabi for the entire curriculum of their impending BFA program partnership, which will launch in the spring of 2020. In 2014 she co-authored the self-study for Joffrey Ballet School’s re-accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Dance. Currently Colleen works as a part-time instructor at the University of Georgia, teaching intermediate/advanced levels of ballet technique and pointe, in addition to choreographing a contemporary ballet for the department’s Spring Dance Concert, which will premiere in April 2020. She has taught at the University of Utah, Ballet West Academy, Joffrey Ballet School, and the Allen Ballet School in Nanchang, China, among others. Colleen participated in the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s teacher training workshop in 2014 and 2016, in addition to the Joffrey teacher training program from 2013-2015; she is also a certified Pilates mat instructor. While working as a graduate student, Colleen restaged Swan LakeAct II and choreographed her own work on the dance majors at the University of Utah. She has also had the pleasure to assist guest choreographers Michele Wiles, Roderick George, and Tauna Hunter as they created or restaged work on the ballet majors, later acting as a rehearsal mistress in the absence of the choreographers. In Fall 2019, she will work with Michele Wiles again to co-stage a new production of The Nutcracker in Black Hills, South Dakota. Colleen’s contemporary ballet choreography took third place in the 2017 Japan Ballet Competition in Takamatsu, Japan. In 2015 she presented work at the Merce Cunningham Theatre, NYC. She has also choreographed numerous works for her summer intensives. Colleen has an MFA in Ballet from the University of Utah, where on a full teaching assistantship scholarship she researched the inherent historical racism of ballet and its natural reflection of postcolonialism. She has presented this research in its various iterations at Dance Studies Association conference in Malta (2018), as well as the CORPS de Ballet conference at Florida State University (2019). With this research, she seeks to cultivate conversation concerning the lack of diversity and equity in ballet, and how we as a society can decolonize ballet so that it becomes a source of joy for the dancer, rather than a vague image of exclusive, patriarchal oppression. She holds a BFA Ballet from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.