The Faculty

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James R. Atkinson, Jr

Associate Professor of Dance

Program Director

James R. Atkinson, Jr. is a native of New Haven, Connecticut,  Associate Professor of Dance, BFA Dance Program Director at Alabama State University, and a founding faculty member of the BFA Program.  He received his Master of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of Arts at New York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Purchase College State University of New York (SUNY) within the School of Arts’ Conservatory of Dance. As a performing artist, he began working with New England Ballet and Sonya Plum Dance Company in Connecticut. He debuted with the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble as a junior in college; during his senior year, he was selected to perform with Ballet Preljocaj during their American tour at Purchase College. He was subsequently a company member of Gleich Dances Contemporary Ballet, Compania de Danza Contemporanea de Burgos, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Oakland Ballet, Capacitor, and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre as well as a soloist with Columbia City Ballet. Mr. Atkinson had the privilege of performing choreography by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Arthur Mitchell, Louis Johnson, John Taras, Michael Smuin, Ron Cunningham, Val Caniparoli, John Alleyne, William Starrett, Jose Mateo, Brett Raphael, Ronn Guidi, and Angelin Preljocaj in addition to several other notable choreographers. He was featured in “Off The Wall on to the Stage” and recognized for his outstanding artistry in the June/July (2005) issue of Pointe Magazine and described as a “powerful presence”. Furthermore, he appeared on the cover of the New York Times Arts Section on February 9, 2005.

Mr. Atkinson created the Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre in 2005 in Columbia, South Carolina. This non-profit organization is currently located in New York City and Connecticut.  Moreover, he worked as the resident choreographer for the Burklyn Ballet Theatre Summer Program, Rehearsal Director for Oakland Ballet Nutcracker Children, Artistic Director of Ballet Savannah, Oakland Dance Studios and co-director of Alabama State University, Eclectic Dance Company during the 2014/2015 season and the Artistic Director of the University Dance Company 2015/2016 Season.

As a director and choreographer, Mr. Atkinson is a three-time resident choreographer for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Choreo Quest Project in Brooklyn, New York; two-time recipient of the Connecticut Department of Art Culture and Tourism City of New Haven Mayor’s Community Grants; Connecticut Office of the Arts & Department of Economic and Community Development; and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. He is also a recipient of  Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship award and several project grants over the past six years. Mr. Atkinson is currently a friend of the Royal Academy of Dance and serves as the Vice President of the Alabama Dance Council, The American College Dance Association Board and ASU Faculty Senate. He previously served on the Montgomery Ballet board for four years and the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School F.A.M.E  board for five years.  Mr. Atkinson has contributed to the state of Alabama by founding the Ballet Boot Camp,  Alabama Festival of Ballet  and the Minority Choreographer Festival