Nathan Andary: Teaching in Motion


Eyes squinted, head cocked to the side, fingers pressed over his mouth, dance professor Nathan Andary sighs while watching his students perform the choreography they have created with careful intensity, occasionally uttering an “oh wow” or “beautiful” under his breath.

“Do it one more time, and really perform it. Don’t drop out,” Andary says as he coaches a freshman dance major through her choreography sequence. Andary tells the students what to think about to enliven their performance, whether it is a specific quality of movement or how their breathing affects a particular movement or shape.

Andary became a fulltime faculty member of the Dance Division at Ohio University at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year after spending two years as a visiting professor. He teaches a variety of classes in the Dance Division from Composition to Laban Movement Analysis to Senior Seminar. Each class requires a different approach but one thing stays the same: Andary’s commitment to himself, his students and the field of dance as a whole.

Andary started out as a “little bumpkin from Kentucky” pursuing a dance degree at Ohio University just as his students are now. After graduation he moved to New York in search of professional dance opportunities. He encourages his students now to explore career opportunities and internships to expose themselves to new opportunities in the field.

“I was so afraid of going to NYC because there’s so many people, and I thought ‘Will I measure up?’” Andary says. “But I did, and I do and you will.”

Andary later started his own dance company called Andary Dance, originally based in Providence, Rhode Island. He then moved the company to Boston in search of more competition among dance artists and a different aesthetic.

“Providence is a beach community and when you live at the beach, everything is chill. Life is a beach,” Andary says relaxing into his chair, reflecting the atmosphere of the beach with his body.

Even after moving the company, Andary was still experiencing a lack of creativity and passion for his work.

“I wasn’t feeling like I was being fed artistically. I was really at a crossroads, so I quit my job and joined the Laban program.”

Laban Movement Analysis is a way of analyzing and describing specific body movements created by dancer and theorist, Rudolf Laban. Laban also created Labanotation, which is a language that describes specific movements so they can be written down and recreated.

“Among its many contributions to the study of dance and movement, Laban Studies provides a language on which to build movement observation and description skills for performance coaching, teaching in dance, sports and other movement, and use as a creative tool,” says Madeleine Scott, director of the School of Dance, Film and Theater. “Its reach extends beyond dance to theater, sports, and rehabilitative applications to training.”

Andary is currently the only faculty member teaching the Laban Movement Analysis course.

Becoming a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) gave Andary new perspectives and allowed him to get his creative juices flowing again.

“It opened up so many new worlds of thoughts and perspective for me and so many deep meaningful connections in the body and the work that I had already been doing. It justified what I had been doing internally and intrinsically,” Andary says.

Laban is a growing field of study in dance and is becoming more and more popular in college-level dance programs.

“Give me more twist through the torso,” Andary says as he demonstrates a shape from a student’s choreography sequence, using Laban language to get the students to understand the spiraling concept he is working on with them. The student mimics Andary, trying to recreate the movement in her own body.

“It really makes a difference, it’s more than just a shape.”

Although Andary no longer maintains his own company, he still continues to create and perform professionally in what he calls “Nathan’s Projects.” Over the summer he worked with sophomore dance major Holly Goldberg in two performances in Massachusetts.

“Working for him gave me the experience of what it is like to work as a professional,” Goldberg says.

Andary has also been working with Class of 2014 alumna Tori Casagranda since she graduated in May. Casagranda and Andary are working on a solo that will be performed during Andary’s piece for the annual Winter Dance Concert in February.

“Because of Nathans help, I have been able to deeply embody the material in a way that I never have before,” Casagranda says. “It has been a rewarding experience that I am very grateful for.”

Goldberg also says that Andary has the ability to see something that no one else does and brings new perspectives into his work.

“He is always generous with himself and his time for his students or for his dancers,” Casagranda says.

Andary’s generosity extends beyond the students he teaches in the Dance Division to the residents in the residence hall where he lives in as a part of the Faculty in Residence Program. Andary lives in the Reed-Johnson complex but he also works with the residents in Lincoln Hall.

“Providing curricular opportunities in the residence hall or in the residential area breaks down not only the division of faculty and student and makes it more accessible, but allows for the learning to happen anywhere. It doesn’t just have to happen over there on that side of campus or in that building or in that classroom. Living and learning partner with each other. They are not separate,” Andary says about the FIR program.

In his three years in the FIR program he has provided opportunities for students integrate the principles of dance into the everyday student life with meditation sessions, dorm room workouts, and weekly bike rides.

At the end of class the freshmen gather around Andary for some last-minute notes.

“I’m so happy with you all,” Andary says, his face glowing with pride.

Andary is a part of the students growth from the time they are freshmen, just beginning their journey as collegiate dancers, to the time that they are seniors about to enter the professional world. His desire for them to succeed constantly pushes him to become a better teacher, mentor and dancer.

I think it’s obvious that there is a level of passion and a level of commitment and a deep-seeded need for excellence that comes out of what I have been saying,” Andary says.

Looking around the room, making eye contact with each student, he smiles warmly at each.

“I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing and I wouldn’t be so in love with you all if I didn’t. You will make it, I know.”

Photo via Ohio University Dance Division

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Performing this Weekend: Oct. 17-19

Don’t miss these wonderful and diverse programs this weekend!

No Boundaries: RED Company

Photo via RED Dance Company

Akron’s professional modern dance company RED will present their annual fall concert at the University of Akron Oct. 17-19. General admission is $20 and $15 for seniors and students. For more information visit RED’s website at 

Get the Led Out: The American Led Zeppelin

Photo via Cincinnati Arts

This Philadelphia based rock group mimics legendary band Led Zeppelin. The performance will be at the Arnoff Center in Cincinnati on Oct. 17. Ticket prices range from $33-$46. For more information click here.


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From Israel to Athens: “Dancing in Jaffa”

“Dancing Jaffa” tells the story of ballroom champion, Pierre Dulaine, who returns to his birthplace of Jaffa to teach a dance program for children. The children in this divided community must learn to get along and dance together. The film will be showing on Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Athena Grande in Athens, Ohio.

The film showing is presented by The Movement Organization and Bobcats for Israel. The two organizations came together to get free tickets for members of their organizations. The general public can also buy tickets for the event as well.

“”This film is a great opportunity for OU students and the Athens community to see how the arts, and in this case movement, can bring people from all different cultural, political, or geographical backgrounds together in harmony,” Grace Nicklos, president of The Movement Organization said about the film.

See the trailer for the film below:

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International artists take the stage Oct. 11

The fifth annual “Global Excursions” will be performed on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. following the week long World Music and Dance Festival, celebrating music and dance from all different cultures around the world.

This year’s concert will feature a variety of guest dance artists and musicians from all over the world including first time visitor to Ohio University, Nii-Tete Yartey, Artistic Director of The National Dance Company of Ghana. Yartey has been teaching African dance workshops all week. He will be performing a solo piece and students who attended his workshops will have the opportunity to perform a traditional dance from Ghana called “Fume Fume.”

Sashar Zarif, a multi- disciplinary artist from Toronto, Canada will also be performing a solo in the concert. Zarif’s style comes from a variety of cultures including Iran, countries in the middle east and Russia.

Musical performances by Mark Stone, Talavya tabla ensemble, Rushi Vakil, and New Directions will also be part of the program.

The show is directed by professors Zelma-Badu Younge and husband, Paschal Yao Younge. The two take pride in being about to provide students of Ohio University with new cultural experiences.

Tickets are free for students who present their OU ID at the door. For more information visit the Division of Dance website or the OU Performing Arts Series website.

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Performing This Weekend: Oct. 10-15 (Extended version)

This weekend’s most exciting performances won’t begin until next Tuesday so enjoy this extended version of Performing This Weekend.

The Lion King

Photo via CAPA

One of the most beloved shows on Broadway is coming to Columbus on Oct. 14. The show runs through Nov. 9 at The Ohio Theatre. Spectacular costumes, songs and dances will leave you feeling like a child again watching this Disney classic. Show times and ticket prices vary. Click here for more information.

Golden Dragon Acrobats

The Golden Dragon Acrobats will be performing at Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium in Athens, Ohio on Wednesday. Oct. 15 as part of the Ohio University Performing Arts series. This group astounds audiences with the best of both traditional and contemporary chinese dance. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for students, $18 for seniors and $20 for the general public. For more information about the Performing Arts Series, click here.

Motown the Musical

Photo via PlayhouseSquare

Motown the Musical follows Berry Gordy’s journey to become a heavy weight champion through song and dance. The musical features favorite musical numbers of the popular Motown era. The show will be playing at State Theatre in Cleveland from Oct. 3-19. For more information and ticket prices visit

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4 Ways to Dance in College Without Being a Dance Major

Wishing you could dance, even though you aren’t pursing a degree in dance? Well good news, there are multiple ways to dance without declaring a major in dance.

Student Organizations

Student Dance Organizations or Student Dance Companies on campus provide opportunities for both non dance majors and dance majors. Getting involved in these organizations provide performance opportunities and bring together all different types of students who share a love for dance. Athens Black Contemporary Dancers (ABCD) and The Movement Organization at Ohio University are open to all students are provide opportunities for performance, viewing dance and social events that center around dance.

Non-Major Classes

Many dance departments offer dance classes for non majors as a fine arts or similar credit. Some schools offer multiple levels from beginner to advanced for students of all different skill levels. If the non-major classes seem too easy, it may be possible to contact the director of the department to see if taking a class for majors is a possibility.

Local Studios

Most cities located near college campuses will have a local dance, Pilates, or Yoga studio. Taking adult classes or even teaching at these studios is a great way to stay in shape and continue to dance without earning a degree. Some studios may even offer student discounts! In Athens, the local studio is Factory Street Dance Studio located on Ohio Avenue.

Campus Recreation Classes

Campus Recreation Centers offer all types of group fitness classes from Zumba to Aerobics to Kickboxing. Many of these classes are dance based and offer a good workout for anyone looking to get moving and sweat. At the Ping Recreation Center at OU, classes including Cardio Dance, Hip Hop, Ballet, and Zumba are offered. For a full list of group fitness classes click here.

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Performing this Weekend: Oct. 3-5

Looking for something to do on this autumn weekend? Wherever you are in Ohio, there is sure to be a performance near you!

DANCECleveland Presents Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Photo via DANCECleveland

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will be performing at the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices start at $20. This dynamic company will only be performing one show, so don’t miss the chance to see what The New York Times calls “A breath of fresh air!” Click here for more information.

Les Miserables 

Photo via PlayhouseSquare and Great Lakes Theater.

This new production of the classic musical Les Miserables presented by Great Lakes Theater runs Oct. 3 through Nov. 9 at the Hanna Theatre in Cleveland. Ticket prices range from $15-$70. The show will be playing on a variety of dates and times, for exact show times visit

Under the Streetlamp

Photo via CAPA Live Entertainment in Columbus.

Under the Streetlamp, a new vocal quartet comprised of cast members of Broadway’s hit Jersey Boys, will be performing an evening of music from Motown to rock n’roll to hits by The Beach Boys and The Beatles. The performance will take place at The Palace Theater in Columbus on Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. For more information and ticket prices, click here.

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