Guest Choreographer

2018-2019: Anjali Austin

Ms. Austin is a Professor in the School of Dance at Florida State University where she teaches ballet and pointe, choreographs, and mentors undergraduate and graduate dance majors. A former member of Dance Theatre of Harlem for thirteen years, Anjali has worked with iconic teachers and choreographers Agnes de Mille, Louis Johnson, Alexandra Danilova, Glen Tetley, Valerie Bettis, Geoffrey Holder, Frederick Franklin, as well as other significantartistsof that genre. Some of the ballets she has performed includeBilly the Kid,Swan Lake(Act II),Serenade,Flower Festival,Dougla,Concerto Barocco,Prince Igor,Paquita,andFrankie and Johnny– in which she held a vocal role. Also to her credits are PBS television specialsFall River Legend,A Streetcar Named Desire,andCreole Giselle.

During Ms. Austin’s career she crossed trained in Pilates,GYROKINESIS®andGYROTONIC®systems of exercise, and has over 35 years of experience in these movement modalities. In these areas Anjali worked with legendary teachers Kathleen S. Grant, Hilary Cartwright, and Juliu Horvath. Under the tutelage of Mr. Horvath she trained and completed her Gyrotonic teacher training, and taught in the New York City studios. In 2002 Anjali was among the first group to be certified as a Gyrotonic Master Trainer and continues to remain active in the field.

Professor Austin holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, serves as President-elect of CORPS de Ballet International, and conducts lectures on the history and legacy of Black classical ballet dancers. Her creative research includes a choreographic mentorship project with Lines Contemporary Ballet Company Founder andArtisticDirector, Alonzo King (2016). Most recently Anjali has been honored with a Center for Ballet and the Arts Fellowship (2017).

2016-2017: Tim Cowart


Tim Cowart has performed nationally and internationally as a company member of the Lewitzky Dance Company, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and with Impact Production’s “Dayuma” and the “Masterpiece.” He has also performed with Elizabeth Streb/ Ringside, The David Dorfman Dance Company, Minh Tran and Company, and The Dance Theatre of Oregon.  He continues to create work and perform for Co-Art Dance, a contemporary dance company he cofounded with his wife Corrie in 1997. He has teaching certifications in DanceAbility, Body Flow, and in Stott Pilates. He has taught in the dance programs of Western Oregon University, Lane Community College, and at the University of Oregon. He has been directing the DeSales University Dance Department since 2005. As Chair of the Department he has spearheaded an ongoing partnership with DanceNow/NYC that brings in over 20 guest artists per year from NYC, Philadelphia and beyond. He initiated the annual DeSales University Screendance Festival, and has fostered collaboration between the TV/Film, Theatre and Dance Departments. cowart1


His research interests are in modern dance partnering techniques, Dance Film, East Asian dance traditions, and the life, work and influence that dancer/choreographer Michio Ito had on the early development of Modern Dance. Cowart teaches course work in all levels of modern dance technique, dance composition, contact improvisation, the evolution of ballet and modern dance, dance in world cultures, senior research seminar, and dance on camera.

2015-2016: Mark Santilliano

Mr. Santillano is an Assistant Professor of dance and teaches modern, tap, jazz, musical theatre dance and choreography at Mercyhurst College following two years as Artist in Residence at Southwest Missouri State University. Originally from St. Louis, he has enjoyed a rich and varied career as a member of the Indianapolis-based Dance Kaleidoscope and as soloist, dance captain, master class instructor and choreographic collaborator with Pilobolus Dance Theatre.

Education and Performance History:

B.F.A., B.S. Southwest Missouri State University
M.A.L.S. Wesleyan University

As a member of Actors Equity Association he performed in national tours of The King and I, West Side Story and A Chorus Line. As a choreographer, his work has been performed by the San Diego Civic Dance Company (San Diego, CA), Lake Erie Ballet (Erie, PA), Erie Dance Conservatory (Erie, PA), Playhouse Dance Company (Pittsburgh, PA), Instinct Dancecorps (Scottsdale, AZ), Geneseo Dance Ensemble (Geneseo, NY), and the Zodiaque Dance Company (Buffalo, NY). He is also founder and co-director of SoMar Dance Works. Mr. Santillano serves on the board of directors of the Erie Dance Consortium and the American College Dance Festival Association. Mr. Santillano acts as the advisor to the Mercyhurst University Dance Club.

Previous Guest Artist Bios Coming Soon!



Department of Theatre/Dance

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