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DANCE NEWS: Ballet Hispánico Names Chell Parkins Its First Dance Education Scholar-in-Residence

DANCE NEWS: Ballet Hispánico Names Chell Parkins Its First Dance Education Scholar-in-Residence

Published on March 12, 2022

Ballet Hispánico, the renowned Latinx dance organization recognized as one of America’s Cultural Treasures, has named Chell Parkins as the first Dance Education Scholar-in-Residence as part of its Community Arts Partnerships (CAP) collaboration with Teachers College, Columbia University on behalf of their doctoral program in dance education and The Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy and Leadership. This first-of-its-kind partnership between the organizations seeks to increase the reach and influence of culturally relevant dance education and build community engagement.

Chell Parkins is a doctoral fellow and program assistant in Teachers College’s dance education program, the nation’s only doctoral program focused on educational research in dance. Parkins’s research explores the experiences of Latinx youth engaged in culturally relevant dance-making practices. 

As Scholar-in-Residence, Parkins will serve as an on-site educational consultant, providing pedagogical mentoring, curriculum design, tailored professional development opportunities, program review, and conduction of relevant research. She was selected from a pool of qualified Teachers College dance education doctoral students who are committed to Latinx culture and Ballet Hispánico’s mission. 

“This role is incredibly serendipitous: my own research is in culturally-relevant dance practices with Latinx populations, so I hope to take my background, and the knowledge I’m gaining through Teachers College’s doctoral program in dance education, and use it to submerge myself within Ballet Hispánico, marrying my skills with the organization’s needs,” said Parkins. “Ballet Hispánico has been doing such necessary work for 50 years, and I hope to further increase its visibility and impact across the country. I aim to create something sustainable that can continue to be developed and built upon to further Ballet Hispánico’s mission.” 

Chell Parkins. Photo source:

During her tenure, Parkins will document the values of Ballet Hispánico’s culturally relevant and student-centered educational model, develop surveys to assess the impact of CAP in alignment with the CAP curriculum and values, compile a database of Ballet Hispánico repertory to be used as a reference for creation of educational manuscripts and study guides, and facilitate a workshop for CAP employees to engage with and discuss educational model values. 

Through the partnership, both organizations seek to: 

  • Provide cross-community opportunities such as symposia, colloquia, roundtables, workshops, and community-based learning ventures
  • Produce mutually beneficial research initiatives, publications, as well as the exchange of experts such as leaders, artists, arts administrators, educators, scholars and researchers
  • Collaborate on grant and foundation funding initiatives to support ongoing partnership initiatives
  • Reinforce professional development for each organization 
  • Share event calendars and provide marketing opportunities at each institution

Community Arts Partnerships engage and enrich communities by providing educational programs that celebrate the authenticity of Latinx heritage, culture, and traditions.

“Ballet Hispánico is committed to engaging with all the local communities that we reach to bring the joy of dance and highlight the power of the Latino culture, especially now, as we return to stages after a long absence,” said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director and CEO, Ballet Hispánico. “Arts education is a transformative experience. When we reach out to communities who are underserved, we bring possibilities to those who may never have dreamed about or seen dance as art. They are given a chance to consider a different perspective and perhaps develop an aesthetic."

“Teachers College is thrilled to enter into this historic partnership with one of the nation’s most renowned Latinx dance and cultural organizations ,” said Stephanie Rowley, Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University. “Ballet Hispánico brings the best and richest expression of Latinx culture to our communities. Through our groundbreaking doctoral program in dance education and The Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy and Leadership, TC brings our deep expertise in research and teaching and learning to this cultural endeavor. And both organizations have long histories of working in our communities to educate and advocate for a more diverse, equal and inclusive society.”

For more information about Ballet Hispánico’s Community Arts Partnerships, visit

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