U of I dance professor honored with fellowship

February 7, 2021 GMT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois dance professor has received a 2021 United States Artists Fellowship.

In a new release, the news bureau of the Urbana-Champaign campus says that Cynthia Oliver is one of 60 fellows for the year and one of just five fellows in the field of dance. The award comes with an unrestricted $50,000 cash award.

Oliver joined the U of I dance department in 2000 after spending years as a choreographer and dancer with several professional companies. Since joining the faculty, she has continued to perform and has received a number of awards, including the New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award for choreography and a 2016 Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Mellon fellowship.

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Oliver said she plans to write a second book about the involvement of Black artists in avant-garde and post-modern dance and experimental work. The book will incorporate her own history that included being raised in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and her arrival in New York in the 1980s to help examine the larger impact of Black dancers and choreographers.