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Rachel Rugh

Rachel Rugh, Adjunct Professor of Dance

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Rachel Rugh, Adjunct Professor of Dance

Rachel Rugh is a dancer, teacher, mover and shaker based in Blacksburg, Virginia.  As a performer, she has collaborated with the DC-based Dance Exchange, as well as Seattle choreographers Pat Graney, Amy O’Neil, and Jurg Koch.  Her choreographic work has been featured at the Seattle International Dance Festival, Movement Research (NYC), and the Washington, D.C. Capital Fringe Festival.  In 2016, her graduate choreography was chosen to represent the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the gala performance of the American College Dance Association's North-Central Conference. Her current choreographic research is an ongoing music/dance collaboration with Virginia Tech percussion faculty member Annie Stevens.

A joyful and enthusiastic movement educator, Rugh has over a decade of experience teaching creative dance to all ages and stages of movers, and currently teaches at Radford University and Virginia Tech. She has presented her work at a variety of national performing arts conferences including the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in America (SEAMUS), the Mid-Atlantic Teaching Artists’ Retreat, the Virginia Tech Gender, Bodies and Technology Conference (GBT), and the American College Dance Association (ACDA).

Rugh has directed the summer residential dance program at the Virginia Governor's School for Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts since 2017. She is an adjunct faculty member at Radford University and Virginia Tech, as well as a faculty fellow at the VT Center for Communicating Science. In 2017/18, she was recipient of the 2017/2018 Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Residency at the Carilion NRV Hospital, where she provided therapeutic movement experiences for patients, staff and visitors. Her recent research has focused on connections between the brain and body through her work with the Virginia Tech Embodied Brain Laboratory. In her *spare* time, she is the director of Blacksburg Dance Theater, which provides the local community with joyful and accessible creative dance training for all ages. She holds a BA in dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • Contemporary/modern dance technique
  • Applied collaborative techniques for multidisciplinary performance
  • Choreography and movement composition
  • Communicating science
  • Best practices in dance pedagogy
  • Accessibility in dance education and performance
  • Movement-based community building
  • Somatic practices (Yoga, Pilates, Bartenieff Movement Fundamentals)
  • Compositional dance improvisation + contact improvisation
  • MFA in Dance, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2017
  • BA in Dance + Environmental Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2008
  • Faculty Fellow, VT Center for Communicating Science
  • Faculty Advisor, VT Contemporary Dance Ensemble
  • Member, National Dance Education Organization
  • Teaching Artist Roster, Virginia Commission for the Arts (2019-present)
  • Dr. Robert L.A. Keely Healing Arts Residency (2017-2018)
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor’s Award (2016)
  • Rugh, Rachel, Basso, Julia C. “Healing Minds: Moving Bodies: Measuring the Mental Health Effects of Online Dance Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Research in Dance Education, 2022.
  • Basso, Julia C., Satyal, Medha K., Rugh, Rachel. “Dance on the Brain: Enhancing Intra- and Inter-Brain Synchrony.” Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2020.
  • Sopoci Drake, K., Larson, E., Rugh, R., Tait, B. “Necessity Fuels Creativity: Adapting Long-Distance Collaborative Methods for the Classroom.” Journal of Dance Education, 2016.
  • Larson, Eliza and Rugh, Rachel. “Everybody Knows This is Now Here: A Cross-Country Conversation on Long- Distance Collaboration.” From the Green Room: Dance/USA’s e-journal, 2014.
  • DANC 2024: Introduction to Dance Techniques
  • TA 2204: Creative Dance