Karen Schupp Dance

making, educating, investigating




Karen is currently working on a textbook for college dance students. The goal of the book is to help first year dance students (majors, minors, and those interested in dance) understand the purposes of studying dance on campus, and how that relates to the larger dance field. The book is scheduled for publication in 2014.


Take yourself back to the late eighties, 1987 to be specific, where you will meet Miss Karen. Miss Karen is the persona that I embody as I describe my experiences of growing up (literally) in a competition dance studio in the 1980s and 1990s. Old competition dances from the late 80s and early 90s are recreated, revised, and revisited to take viewers on a “totally radical” journey through my childhood and early adulthood, while revealing the positive and not-so positive aspects of participating in this cultural phenomenon.

Karen received a United States Artist Project grant to fund the first phase of this project. Stay tuned for Phase II in 2014.

To learn more about the project and view Phase I, visit In It To Win.


Karen was a 2010 recipient of a prestigious Artist Project Grant, an award funded by the NEA and State of Arizona. Awarded by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, this grant supported the development of a new evening-length, multi-disciplinary, site-specific piece, Western Door/Power Trail. To learn more, follow the Western Door/Power Trail Blog. This piece premiered at the Arizona Falls on November 13, 2010.


Sunshine. Moonlight. Good Times. Boogie.

Karen will premiere a new solo in the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s September Concert. This new work is a retrospective and forwarding thinking investigation of her multiple dancing identities.

September 26-28, Tempe, AZ

Journal of Dance Education’s The Dance Educator Special Issue: Creative Leadership in K-12 Dance Education

Karen served as Guest Editor for JODE’s annual Dance Educator Special Issue. The issue includes six articles that address creative leadership in various dance education contexts. The term creative leadership recognizes the coupled nature of innovation and initiative needed for success, inside and outside of dance, in the 21st century. Progressive curricular models and student-centered teaching approaches can cultivate creative leadership in students as they learn dance. As students become more secure in their creative leadership abilities, they are empowered to define their own roles within dance and their larger communities.

Available online in September; Mail delivery in October

Fostering the Future: Higher Education Dance Curriculum Sessions

The goal of the workshop, planned by Simon Dove and Karen and hosted by Movement Research and New York University, is to ignite a thoughtful dialogue between artists/educators inside of academia and those in the professional field about relevant ways to educate dance artists.

Workshop participants  will include forward thinking creative leaders from a variety of university and college dance programs and Movement Research. Invited participants are already reframing dance, in its various manifestations, in higher education. This collective group of artists, educators, scholars, and administrators will discuss and develop progressive curricular strategies, large and small, that are implementable now and will have a significant impact on dance, in all the various ways it is practiced, in the near future.

October 8-11: New York, NY

Isolating the Parts to Strengthen the Whole: Teaching Collaborative Skills Through Dance

Karen will present this paper at the National Dance Education Organization’s 2014 national conference. The primary research question, “How can dance education explicitly cultivate collaborative skills?” will be addressed through surveying, comparing, and contrasting published research about collaboration within dance education, tangible aptitudes needed for collaboration and how those are developed, and the implicitly collaborative aspects of dance careers. Suggestions regarding new teaching methods, specifically for technique and creative classes, that stem from the research and specifically foster proficiency in collaboration will be offered.

November 6-8: Chicago, IL


Photo Credits: Tim Trumble, Ken Howie, Yu-Chen Wu, Yeongwen Lee, Alli Dodt