Elana Denise Anderson, Ph. D. is an instructor, life-long student and lecturer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies with minors in both English Literature and French from Chicago State University; a Master of Arts degree and Doctorate of Philosophy in African Studies concentrating in Language, Literature, and the Arts, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the flagship of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Howard University in Washington, D.C., complete her academic education. She is a member of the American Guild for Musical Artists (AGMA) and a lifetime member of the National Council for Negro Women. Dr. Anderson became a member of the artistic team of Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Productions in 1998, and currently serves as senior artist, consultant, narrator, rehearsal coach, and instructor, while also serving on the faculties of the DC-based Joy of Motion and Baltimore-based Morton Street Dance Centers, and the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute of Silver Spring, MD.
Attending high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D. C., Dr. Anderson studied professionally under the tutelage of Sandra Fortune-Green, Melvin Deal, John Perpener, Melba Lucas, Edith Williams, James Thurston, and Mike Malone. Dr. Anderson joined the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) in 1981, where she continued to study. Her instructors included Andrew Pap, Alexei Yudenich, Faye Snow, Pearl Primus, Pat Thomas, Dolores Brown-Abelson, Denise Jefferson, James Truitte, Al Perryman, Harold Pierson, Ana Marie Forsythe, Milton Meyers and Marion Cuyjet. Extensive training in a variety of disciplines has enabled Dr. Anderson to collaborate with choreographers the world over. They include, among others, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Louis Johnson, Arthur Eugene Hill, Lloyd Whitmore, Eleo Pomare, Gary Abbott, and Kevin Iega Jeff. Dr. Anderson’s career in dance has spanned thirty plus years, and includes work in concert stage, commercial stage, opera, television and film. Dr. Anderson has received unparalleled recognition the world over for her interpretation and presentation of excellence in the Black Dance aesthetic, and her experiences have given her the insight, stamina, and determination to succeed at what has become her life’s work: the enlightenment of other lives through art.
A devoted mother, craftsperson, and consummate artist, Dr. Anderson is one of the country’s few instructors of the modern dance technique of Lester Horton. She uses the dynamics of the technique to inspire children and adults alike to embrace and move beyond self-imposed limitations. An instructor of classical ballet as well, Anderson has taught master classes, given lectures, and choreographed for many organizations. They include LINES Contemporary Ballet of San Francisco, CA, Studio One Dance Theater and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater of Chicago, IL, Modas Dance of Santa Fe, NM, Jahari Dance Troupe of Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, the Emerson High School for the Visual and Performing Arts of Gary, IN, the D.C. Youth Ensemble, Joy of Motion Dance Center, Washington Middle School for Girls, Georgetown University Dance Company and Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., the Morton Street Dance Center in Baltimore, MD, the Contemporary Dance Academy of Mt. Rainier, MD, the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute of Silver Spring, MD, the Camplex Heritage Center of Gillette, WY, the African American Dance Company at Indiana University/Bloomington, the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, the Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago, and the Lou Conte Dance Studio, home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Through her work in dance and academia, Dr. Anderson has explored artistic/rehearsal/stage direction and assistance. Cultural criticism and curriculum development, grant writing, narration, residency programming and scriptwriting are also a part of her expertise. Her future goals include the founding and publication of an international quarterly magazine, as well as an internationally based publishing house and arts facility.