Christina Tsoules Soriano is an associate professor of dance at Wake Forest University and the newly appointed director of the dance program. At Wake, she regularly teaches Improvisation, Dance Composition, Modern Dance technique and a course she co-teaches with chemistry colleague Rebecca Alexander entitled Movement and the Molecular. Christina received her MFA in dance from Smith College and has danced for many inspiring choreographers, including Alexandra Beller and Heidi Henderson. In addition to the new works she creates for the Wake Forest Dance Company each year, Christina’s choreography has been presented throughout New England, North Carolina, New York and in Vienna, Austria. Choreographic or teaching residencies include the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Amherst College, Trinity College (CT), Salve Regina University, Rhode Island College and Providence College. Christina has premiered a new work at the Music Carolina Festival in Winston-Salem since 2013; this past summer her work “The Patsy Project” featured a cast of 25 dancers, ages 4-75, with live music by Martha Bassett and her band singing music by Patsy Cline. Since 2012, Christina has regularly taught a community dance class in Winston-Salem, NC to people living with Parkinson’s Disease, and has been involved in three scientific studies that look at the ways improvisational dance can help the mobility and balance of people living with neurodegenerative disease. She has received funding from the National Parkinson Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, and most recently the NIH to conduct a randomized clinical trial, testing her improvisational dance method in a community of adults living with Mild Cognitive Impairment and their carepartners. Her published work has appeared in the Journal of Dance Education, Research in Dance Education, Dance Magazine, Theatre Journal, the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, The Journal of Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics and Frontiers in Neurology.
In 2017 Christina also was appointed to a new administrative role in the Office of the Provost and is working with colleagues across the university to enhance visibility of the arts at and beyond Wake Forest, and help forge interdisciplinary connections across the arts and other Wake Forest schools and departments. She is also very involved in an annual, interdisciplinary symposium: Wake Forest’s Aging Re-Imagined, which brings together the work of artists and scientists around the topic of Healthy Aging.
Visit Christina's page on the Wake Forest website to learn more about her work as an associate professor of dance and choreographer.
Glenna Batson is an Emertus Professor of Physical Therapy at Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Batson is a graduate of Hahnemann Medical University in Physical Therapy. She received her doctorate in clinical neuroscience, and taught in North Carolina State University state system in physical therapy for 22 years. A Fulbright Senior Specialist, Glenna has completed residencies in dance science and somatics around the world and played a pioneering role in the development of the field. She worked with Professor Soriano on the original 2012 study looking at dance to improve balance and mobility in persons with neurological disorders.
Christina Hugenschmidt is an Assistant Professor in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wake Forest's Center for Human Genomics, Diabetes Research Center. Her research interests lie in the interplay between physical health and brain function. She is currently leading several studies looking at the effects of exercise and weight loss interventions on the brain. She is also partnering with the Wake Forest School of Medicine's Laboratory for Complex Brain Networks to investigate the effects of exercise and weight loss on the architecture of complex brain networks.
Jessie Laurita-Spanglet is an active teacher-artist-scholar and a Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow in Dance at Wake Forest University. Since graduating with an MFA from the University of Maryland in 2014, Jessie has had teaching and choreographic residencies at the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Virginia, Davis and Elkins College, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. For the past two years, Jessie has been an organizing artist for On Site/In Sight, a three-day dance festival in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, that brings together local, regional, and national dance-artists to perform in sites throughout the city. Jessie is a Stott certified Pilates teacher through Balance Pilates in Richmond VA, and holds a BFA in modern dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Alice Romanov, originally from Atlanta, GA, is a junior at Wake Forest University where she is majoring in sociology and minoring in neuroscience, dance, and social entrepreneurship. As a life-long dancer and violinist, Alice is passionate about the intersection of dance and science as a meaningful way of helping others. Over the summer of 2017, Alice worked with Christina Soriano and Christina Hugenschmidt as a URECA Research Fellow and will continue as a student researcher on the upcoming NIH-funded randomized clinical trial. On campus, Alice is a member of the Wake Forest Dance Company and a string music chamber group.
Kelly O’Keefe is a senior at Wake Forest with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and dance. She is passionate about exploring the science behind movement and is inspired by the correlation between dance and self-confidence. Kelly has been assisting Christina Soriano in various community classes since January of 2018, her favorite being the weekly Parkinson’s class. As a URECA research fellow during the summer of 2018, she expanded her role to include working on the NIH-funded clinical study with Christina Hugenschmidt. She is excited about continuing her role in the classes and in the study. Kelly is a Presidential Scholar in Dance at Wake Forest and a student advisor for first-year students.
Kamryn King is a junior at Wake Forest University from Winston-Salem, NC who has been working closely with Christina Soriano as a student assistant and research fellow on a newly funded NIH study. Over the summer of 2018 she is working on a research project aiming to bring this improvisational movement method into the lives of homebound older adults. As a Health and Exercise Science major and dance minor, she is interested in the ways that dance and science work closely together and the real life implications of this research. She is a member of the Wake Forest Dance Company as well as Momentum Hip Hop Dance Crew.
Kelly is a Program Manager with the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Prior to joining the EPMO, she managed a variety of projects and programs within the WFBMC enterprise, such as the body-on-a-chip research and development program funded by the Defense Threat and Reduction Agency (DTRA), and supported the strategic implementation of Healthy Places NC, a place-based initiative to improve the health and quality of life for people in rural North Carolina. She has over 10 years of project management, contract management, consulting, and strategic planning experience with leading health care, research, and funding organizations such as the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Ms. Burkett most recently managed the ICD-10 Sustainability Program, Davie Medical Center Bed Tower Program, Brenner’s Children Hospital Program, and facilitating the WFBMC Community of Practice. Ms. Burkett is a certified Project Management Professional and earned a MPH from Boston University School of Public Health and a BS in Biology and Dance from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.