Dr. Marissa Nesbit is deeply committed to the idea that all children should have the opportunity to attain an excellent dance education centered in the arts. As Assistant Professor and Dance Education Coordinator at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Nesbit supports aspiring dance educators to craft rigorous and engaging learning experiences that immerse their students in the creative process. Currently, she teaches dance education methods courses and supervises student teachers and engages in qualitative research projects that investigate aspects of dance curriculum and pedagogy in K12 contexts.
Dr. Nesbit is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences including the National Dance Education Organization and dance and the Child, international. She has several chapters in the forthcoming book Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies in Humanizing Dance Pedagogy (2019) edited by Doug Risner and Karen Schupp, and descriptions of her elementary and secondary dance education methods courses appear as a case study in Performing Arts As High-Impact Practice (2018) edited by Michelle Hayford and Susan Kattwinkel.
Dr. Nesbit is influenced by a widely varied academic background that contributes to her understanding of dance as deeply intertwined with other academic, artistic, and life pursuits. After completing her undergraduate degree in psychobiology at Pitzer College (1998), she worked as a special education teacher before returning to school to complete her MFA in dance at Texas Woman’s University (2003). Through work with several arts education programs she found her calling as a dance educator and further developed her interest in teacher professional development as Director of Dance Education at the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2006-2009). A desire to deeply investigate dance curriculum led to her Ph.D. research in Art Education, where she was awarded the Manuel Barkan Dissertation Fellowship at The Ohio State University (2013).
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Nesbit is thrilled to make North Carolina her second home, having worked as Director of Education and Outreach at the North Carolina Dance Theater (now Charlotte Ballet) (2004-2006) and as a faculty member at East Carolina University (2013-2019), as well as serving as a founding Board Member of the North Carolina Dance Education Organization (2014-2018). Now at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Nesbit is committed to continuing the legacy of outstanding dance education in our region.