Belhaven Alum Awarded Fulbright Arts Research Grant

Stephanie Miracle Belhaven University AlumnaNovember 13, 2014 (Jackson) - Stephanie Miracle (’04) was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Research Grant to study dance in Essen, Germany. This prestigious grant enabled her to spend a year at Folkwang University, studying the lineage and legacy of Pina Bausch. Bausch is one of Germany’s most influential choreographers of the 20th century and his dance company, Tanztheater Wuppertal, is world-renown.

Stephen Wynne, one of Miracle’s dance professors while at Belhaven University, was the first to introduce her to the work of Bausch. Wynne and his wife Britta had both been dancers in Cologne, Germany and created choreography in the style of Bausch’s dance theatre. “I felt very strongly connected to this approach to making choreography and wanted to know more and was directed to Pina Bausch,” said Miracle.

Miracle believes that her time at Belhaven prepared her for studies at Folkwang University and said, “Now that I am here, I can see how my experience at Belhaven prepared me for this Fulbright year. The rigorous technical regiment of classical ballet and classical modern mirrors that of Belhaven. I feel that I am returning to my roots and the teaching philosophies of Belhaven professors like Laurie Worill-Biggs, Amy McIntosh, Marc Arentsen, Stephen Wynne, Lou Campbell and Cynthia Newland.”

Cynthia Newland, Associate Professor of Dance and Chair of the Dance Department, said, “Since graduation from Belhaven, she has pursued and utilized her God given gifts as a dance artist in New York City and Washington D.C. The dance department celebrates Stephanie’s many accomplishments and contributions to the field of dance, upholding Kingdom values.”

Dancers at Folkwang University go through daily technique classes that are more traditional in form. Miracle believes this new training is broadening her education in dance, and she adds that the style of training “strongly contrasts” her experiences in working as a contemporary dancer in New York City and Washington, D.C.

After Belhaven, Miracle and her husband Jimmy moved to New York City where she worked as a freelance dancer with many companies and choreographers including Deganit Shemy, Elizabeth Dishman, Ella Ben Aharon, Avodah Dance Ensemble, David Dorfman, Laura Peterson, Shannon Gillen, Susan Marshall and Deborah Hay.

In 2011 she moved to Washington D.C. where she worked with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and then in 2014, she earned her MFA in Dance at University of Maryland.  Along side graduate school she received several choreography commissions and was awarded travel grants to Mexico and Austria. For the past three years she also danced for Pearsonwidrig Dance Theatre and toured to various cities and internationally to Russia.

As a choreographer, she has created works for bus stops, women's prisons, hallways, staircases, gardens and traditional theaters as well as dance for camera. Stephanie's choreography has been presented at Rooftop Dances, 100 Grand, Triskelion Arts, Round House Theater, Dance Place, Clarice Smith Center, Supernova and Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center.

“I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunities I have been given,” said Miracle. “Staying committed in my life to God’s calling as an artist has lead me on difficult paths that don’t come with many material pleasures, but God has always provided for me and I am very grateful.”

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