Rachel Barker is Assistant Professor and Dance Education Coordinator in the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte and teaches pedagogy courses, improvisation, composition, and contemporary technique. As Dance Education Coordinator, Barker comes to UNC Charlotte with experience teaching at various universities, national festivals, private studios and community centers, and as head of a high school dance department for three years.
Her current research lies at the crossroads of artistry and education, and is manifest through pedagogical scholarship, community engagement, and creative work. Specifically, she investigates the practice of improvisation and creative process as a means for cultivating individual voice, vulnerability, and connection to self, others and one’s surroundings. Barker actively presents at national and regional education conferences, and is also a working artist. Her article “Educator, Artist, Researcher: A Synergistic Relationship” will be published in an upcoming issue of Dance Education in Practice. She seeks to build connections between dance and various publics, audiences, or communities, through site-specific and community-engaged work, as well as explorations of vulnerability in performance. This research has also manifest through the course she developed, “Choreography in Context,” in which students explore the making of dance in these various realms.
Barker directs the company, Rachel Barker Dance, and has performed and presented her choreographic work at the Seattle International Dance Festival (WA), the On Site/In Site Dance Festival (Winston-Salem, NC), the Triangle Dance Project (Durham, NC), and the North Carolina Dance Festival (upcoming, Fall 2017). She was the recipient of the North Carolina Dance Alliance Choreography Fellowship in 2016, and her work will be showcased by that organization in Fall 2017. She has additionally presented at venues throughout the country, including Seattle, WA; Columbus, OH; Salt Lake City, UT; and throughout North Carolina. Rachel has conducted site-specific research as an artist-in-residence with collaborator JoAnna Mendl Shaw at the Sedona Summer Arts Colony, Arizona and has studied with and performed the work of artists Bebe Miller, John Jasperse, Lisa Race, Keith Johnson, and Donna Uchizono, among others.
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Barker received an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University (’15) where she was a three-year Distinguished Fellow, an MA in Teaching from Westminster College (’08), and a BFA from the University of Utah.