June 18, 2021 (Jackson, Miss.) - Kellis McSparrin Oldenburg will join Belhaven University's Dance Department as Assistant Professor of Dance in August 2021.
Oldenburg is a dancer, choreographer, and instructor originally from Clinton, Mississippi. She got her start in the performing arts as a three-year singer and dancer in Clinton High School's nationally renowned Attache show choir. She continued her study of dance at the University of Southern Mississippi, and, in 2010, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography. Following her undergraduate studies, she earned an M.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2012.
Oldenburg is a former instructor of dance at Belhaven University, where she taught modern, jazz, and performance techniques. She also taught graduate pedagogy and served as a faculty choreographer, rehearsal director, and senior thesis advisor.
She is a remote instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi, teaching online dance appreciation. She also teaches at several New Orleans area dance studios, specializing in ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, and musical theatre techniques. She is a certified yoga instructor and has orchestrated her own freelance choreography and teaching business for the past 12 years.
Most recently, Oldenburg completed her fifth season with the Marigny Opera Ballet, where she serves as rehearsal director, choreographer and dancer. During her time with the company, she had the opportunity to originate several leading roles, including Proserpina in the premiere of Orfeo (October 2015) and Giselle in the premiere of Giselle Deslondes (November 2016). She has also choreographed four works for Marigny Opera Ballet during her tenure, three of which received awards for choreography from the New Orleans Gambit Tribute to the Classical Arts.
Chair and Professor of Belhaven's Dance Department Krista Bower said, Kellis is an innovative choreographer and dynamic educator who is committed to preparing students for diverse careers in the field of dance. She is eager to share knowledge gained through her experiences as a professional dancer, award-winning choreographer, dance instructor, company rehearsal director, and entrepreneur. Kelliswholeheartedlyembraces the mission of Belhaven University and the unique opportunity to teach dance in a Christ-centered environment. Kellis will make a significant impact in our program and will inspire students to pursue excellence as dance artists, scholars, and servant-leaders.
Oldenburg and her husband Kirk live in New Orleans, and they joyously welcomed their first child, Ryder Michael, in December of 2019.