Meet the Dance Faculty

ASU conducted an extensive nationwide search and successfully secured a dynamic team of three student-centered professional teaching artists with advance degrees, and teaching and choreographic skills that range from ballet to modern, and from African to Hip Hop to guide the BFA/Dance Program’s mission: to cultivate student’s creative, performance, and scholarly aptitude through exposure to diverse practical and philosophical approaches to dance studies, while developing and nurturing their technical proficiency in various dance forms.


Get to know the dynamic faculty in ASU's BFA/Dance Program:




James Atkinson

James R. Atkinson, Jr. is a native of New Haven, Conn. He is Associate Professor and Program Director in the BFA Dance Program, and a founding faculty member of the BFA Program.

Atkinson received his Master of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of Arts at New York University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY) within the School of Arts’ Conservatory of Dance.

As a performing artist, Atkinson began working with New England Ballet and Sonya Plum Dance Company in Connecticut. He debuted with the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble as a junior in college; during his senior year, he was selected to perform with Ballet Preljocaj during their American tour at Purchase College. He was subsequently a company member of Gleich Dances Contemporary Ballet, Compania de Danza Contemporanea de Burgos, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Oakland Ballet, Capacitor, and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, as well as a soloist with Columbia City Ballet.

Atkinson had the privilege of performing choreography by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Arthur Mitchell, Louis Johnson, John Taras, Michael Smuin, Ron Cunningham, Val Caniparoli, John Alleyne, William Starrett, Jose Mateo, Brett Raphael, Ronn Guidi, and Angelin Preljocaj in addition to several other notable choreographers. He was featured in “Off The Wall on to the Stage” and recognized for his outstanding artistry in the June/July (2005) issue of Pointe magazine and described as a “powerful presence.” Furthermore, he appeared on the cover of the New York Times arts section on February 9, 2005.

​Atkinson created the Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre in 2005 in Columbia, South Carolina. This non-profit organization is currently located in New York City and Connecticut. 

Atkinson worked as the resident choreographer for the Burklyn Ballet Theatre Summer Program, Rehearsal Director for Oakland Ballet Nutcracker Children, Artistic Director of Ballet Savannah, Oakland Dance Studios and co-director of Alabama State University, Eclectic Dance Company during the 2014-15 season and the Artistic Director of the University Dance Company 2015-16 Season.

As a director and choreographer, Atkinson is a three-time resident choreographer for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Choreo Quest Project in Brooklyn, N.Y., two-time recipient of the Connecticut Department of Art Culture and Tourism City of New Haven Mayor’s Community Grants, Connecticut Office of the Arts & Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. He is also a recipient of Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship award and several project grants over the past six years.

Atkinson is currently a friend of the Royal Academy of Dance and serves as the Vice President of the Alabama Dance Council, The American College Dance Association Board and ASU Faculty Senate. He previously served on the Montgomery Ballet board for four years and the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School F.A.M.E board for five years.  He has contributed to the state of Alabama by founding the Ballet Boot Camp, Alabama Festival of Ballet, and the Minority Choreographer Festival.  


204 Tullibody Fine Arts Building

(334) 604-9208 (Office)








203 Tullibody Music Building

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Tullibody Fine Arts Building

(334) 604-8194 (Office)









215 Tullibody Music Building

334-604-9179 (Office)