CDA Distinguished Acheivement Awards in Dance 2012

An event to celebrate Connecticut’s dance community

Sunday, October 21, 2012, 5:00 – 7:00pm
Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities
University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT

Each year, the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Dance Alliance honors very special members of the dance community – individuals or organizations – for their distinguished achievement in the world of dance in our state.

In previous years, our honorees have been Martha Myers, Ernestine Stodelle, Jennifer Tipton, June Kennedy, Enid Lynn, Mariam McGlone, Lee Lund, Betsy Mahaffey, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, Sharon Dante, Judy Dworin, Susan Matheke, Kim Stroud, Cheryl Smith, Noble Barker, Kathy Borteck Gersten, Olivia Davis, Catherine Fellows, Dee Dee Handy Morris, Dorothy Silverherz, Barbara Feldman, Michael Uthoff, the Ted Hershey Dance & Music Marathon and Connecticut Ballet.

This year we were delighted to receive an unusually long list of nominations for this annual award and the final decision was made after much discussion. As a result, we are proud to announce the following distinguished awardees:

Deborah Goffe, Artistic Director, Scapegoat Garden

We honor Deborah for the remarkable work she has achieved creating, performing and teaching dance; for her leadership role in the Hartford dance community and the innovative work of her own company, Scapegoat Garden.

The Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at Saint Joseph College

(to be represented by the Director, Dr Robert Smith)

We honor the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at Saint Joseph College for the remarkable work it has achieved presenting dance for the Greater Hartford region. The Centers’ commitment to sustaining a high profile for dance in its programming and its commitment to the power of the arts to educate and transform is inspiring.

Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts (EMIA)

We honor Earl Mosley for the remarkable work he has achieved over the years with his summer program, EMIA. We honor particularly his commitment to excellence with the diverse young students he teaches at the Institute for the Arts, at ECA, and the Life Dance Company – A Vision Reborn.

Honoree Biographies

DEBORAH GOFFE is a performer, choreographer, dance educator and video artist. Since earning her BFA in modern dance from the University of the Arts and an MFA in performance and choreography from California Institute of the Arts, Scapegoat Garden has served as the vehicle and creative community through which the Hartford-native explores the intersection of dance with other media. Founded in 2002, Scapegoat Garden is a Hartford-based collaborative dance theater, driven to create daring, interdisciplinary performance that goes in through the nose, eyes, skin, ears and mouth to stir those who witness or participate. Through the company, Deborah is inspired to conjure lush worlds where dynamic movement, sound, video, costumes, sets, lights and a genuine expression of the human experience converge. With collaboration at the center of its process, the company’s vast repertory has been selected for performance in festivals and venues throughout the region including: Hartford’s Charter Oak Cultural Center, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Provincetown Dance Festival, Boston Center for the Arts, Bates Dance Festival in Maine, New York City’s Raw Material Performance Series at Dance New Amsterdam, DUMBO Dance Festival, Artists of Tomorrow Festival, and Fridays at Noon at the 92nd Street Y. In this, Scapegoat Garden’s 10th anniversary year, Deborah remains committed to the company’s vision of exemplifying the artistic integrity and innovation of Hartford’s cultural community. Through its performance works, community engagement activities, and its laboratory for creative process at The Garden Center for Contemporary Dance, Scapegoat Garden strives to forge relationships between artists and communities, helping people see, create and contribute to a greater vision of ourselves, each other, and our city.

In service to her work with Scapegoat Garden, Deborah has received Artists Fellowship Grants from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant, and the Surdna Foundation. In 2010, Deborah was invited to participate as New England Emerging Choreographer at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine. In that same year, she served as a yearlong Artist-in-Residence at Billings Forge Community Works. Deborah has taught dance and related courses in a number of institutions, including Belmont High School in Los Angeles, California Institute of the Arts, CREC Center for Creative Youth, Trinity College, and CulturArte – a youth arts summer residency program in Cape Verde, Africa. She is currently a core faculty member at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

In addition to her work with creative youth and with her Scapegoat Garden collaborators, Deborah serves as Dance Coordinator at Charter Oak Cultural Center, working closely with area dance-makers to revitalize and re-envision the Greater Hartford dance community through the newly formed Homegrown Dance initiative.

Photo: Peter Dressel


Contributions to Connecticut Dance

Over the past decade The Carol Autorino Center at Saint Joseph College has developed as a major dance venue for greater Hartford through the efforts of its director, Dr. Robert Smith (pictured at left), and Susan Murphy, director of the Saint Joseph College dance program, and Technical Manager Howard Kirsner. Over 50 dance companies have performed at The Center.

The Autorino Center has become the performance home of several regional dance companies, including Ballet Theatre Company of West Hartford, Premier Dance Theatre, Figments Youth Dance Ensemble, Helyn Flanagan Dancers (senior citizens), the Hartford Conservatory Dance Ensemble ( until HC closing), and the Saint Joseph College Dance Ensemble.

At the invitation of Dr. Smith, Ballet Theatre Company established an annual production of The Nutcracker, at the Autorino Center, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary multiple performance run. Over 400 area children have performed in The BTC Nutcracker, which incorporates an outreach performance for underserved children with its annual performances at the Center. Dr. Smith has been honored by BTC with its Angel Award for “dedication to arts and education.”

In response to expressed needs of area dancers, the Dr. Smith and Susan Murphy established the annual 5 X 5 Dance Festival at the Center in 2002. The Festival brings together Connecticut’s professional dance companies and collegiate dance companies for an October weekend of performances, master classes, and interface among fellow dancers and audiences. The Festival introduced dancer/musician collaborations, dance photography exhibitions, mentoring of collegiate groups by professional companies, audience talk-backs and models of festival assessment by participating dancers and audiences.

Dr. Smith and Susan Murphy established the annual AIMI Project (Arts Integration/Multiple Intelligences) with artist- in- residence Jacques d’Amboise and his team from the National Dance Institute in 2004.. The project introduced a college course in Multiple Intelligences that trains teachers to apply NDI dance instruction pedagogy to instruction in an array of subject areas. The program brings together 10—13 years olds (with no dance experience), undergraduate and graduate education students, NDI artists in residence and an interdisciplinary team from Saint Joseph College, who produce and present a dance performance in 13 days. The program received a $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Education for 2006—2008 to support its role in training teachers.

Dr. Smith established H.E.A.L. (Health Education through Arts in Learning), an arts in health care a partnership between the Center, St. Francis Hospital, and the Saint Joseph College Nursing Program, which will incorporate dancers in hospital treatment programs through both on site performance and interface with patients.

The Autorino Center introduced performances by dancers with disabilities (Dancing Wheels, Heidi Latsky Dance), and utilized grant funds to improve accessibility to Autorino Center for artists and audiences with disabilities. Dr. Smith serves on CT Committee for Artists with Disabilities, which meets at the Center.

Dr. Smith and Susan Murphy served for several years with the Connecticut State Department of Education Task Force Committees that established K-12 dance and theatre certification for Connecticut public school teachers in 2009.

The Autorino Center has hosted Connecticut meetings for National Dance Project Regional Initiatives, and has advocated for expansion of National Dance Project funding to include regional dance festivals.

The Autorino Center joined with Ballet Theatre Company to negotiate with West Hartford schools in establishing academic credit in dance for high school students who trained with Ballet Theatre Company.

The Autorino Center presented a concert by Ted Hershey friend Franc D’Ambrosio (“longest running” Phantom of the Opera) as part of annual Marathon series of events.

Connecticut professional dance companies that have performed at the Autorino Center : Adele Meyers and Dancers, Ballet Theatre Company, Connecticut Ballet, Dance Connect, Elm Street Collective, Dance Enlight, Exit 12, Figments Youth Dance Ensemble, Footnotes, Full Force, Griffith Irish Dance Academy, James Robey Dance, Judie Clark Dance Company, Judy Dworin Dance Project, Kinetic Dance, Leela Dance Theatre, MOMIX, Premier Dance Theatre, Sankofa Kuumba, Scapegoat Garden, Soma Dance Company, Sonia Plumb Dance Company, Spectrum in Motion Dance Theatre Ensemble and Stop/Time Dance.

Connecticut collegiate dance companies that have performed in Hoffman Auditorium include: Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut College, Eastern Connecticut State University, Hartford Conservatory, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Saint Joseph College, and Trinity College.

Dr. Smith established the annual Bruyette Athenaeum Performing Arts Series which brings major out of state dance companies to the Autorino Center each year. Dance companies in the series have included: James Sewell Ballet (Minnesota), Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble (Maryland), Break (Urban Funk Spectacular) (New York), Step Afrika (New York), Navarassa Dance Company (Boston) Nai Ni Chin Dance Company (Pennsylvania), Eva Dean Dance (Bounce) (New York), Paul Taylor II (New York), Duquesne University Tamburitzans (Pennsylvania), Snappy Dance Theatre (Massachusetts), Bennett Dance Company (Air and Water) (Massachusetts), Yu Wei Chinese Dance Collection) (Pennsylvania), Koresh (Pennsylvania), Buckets and Tap Shoes (New York), American Repertory Ballet (New Jersey), Ragamala Dance theatre (Minneapolis), Thodos Dance Chicago, Danceworks Chicago, The Vanaver Caravan (New York), Dancing Wheels (Ohio), Heidi Latsky Dance (New York), Updraft (Conspiracy of Movement) (Maryland).

All of the above dance performances have been under the supervision of Autorino Center Technical Manager Howard Kirsner.
As director of the Carol Autorino Center, Dr. Smith has supported regional dance companies in difficult economic circumstances through such practices as negotiating reduced facility fees, trading of rehearsal time for master class instruction, performance co-sponsorships, and debt forgiveness.


  • Named 2005 Teacher of the Year, Dance Teacher Magazine
  • Performed with Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (Ailey II), Gus Solomons Dance and Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence Dance, Inc.
  • Choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Dallas Black Theater, American Ballet Theater Studio Co. and Edge Works Dance Theatre among others.

Diversity of Dance, Inc.

  • Founded as a not-for-profit professional /teaching organization in 1996
  • Provides teaching residencies across the country and abroad
  • Operates a Workforce program, Life Dance Co. in Waterbury, CT
  • Is the parent of Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts (EMIA)

Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts

  • EMIA’s stellar line-up of residential artists provide students with the highest technical training and personal support
  • 2011 students represented 16 states and 8 foreign countries
  • Over 90% of its students receive partial scholarships
  • Seeks gender balance averaging 33% males annually
  • Funded by The National Endowment for the Arts The State of CT in collaboration with Education Connection The Northwest Regional Arts Workforce Investment Board And other foundations and generous individuals

EMIA 2012 Summer Dance Intensive

EMIA’s summer dance intensive enables each individual to achieve the highest level of excellence in positive collaborations between dancer and artist in an environment where they can feel safe and motivated. The two-week and four-week residential and day program for dancers 14 and above is held at The Marvelwood School in the rural hills of Kent, CT. Students take technique classes in ballet, modern, African, theatre jazz and hip hop with classes in Yoga, percussion, and composition taught by a team of internationally-known artists. A variety of activities are woven into each session including the history of dance; theatre design and production; the business of dance; dance programs and degree institutions; body conditioning; safety and wellness. In addition to rigorous technique classes and repertory rehearsals, students are encouraged to choreograph their own works or participate in works choreographed by other students. Each week guest artists set repertory pieces on students for performances for families and the public both on campus and off. Students focus on learning from one another creating a global community of dancers who have the opportunity to experience and share the traditions and the arts of many cultures.

Photos: Earl Mosley teaching and EMIA students in performance