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Debra Collins Ryder

Artist Teacher

Email: ryder@hartford.edu Debra Collins Ryder joined the Hartt School Dance faculty at the University of Hartford in January 2006. As an adjunct faculty member, Debra teaches Ballet, Pointe, Repertory, Dance History I & II, and Music in the Ballet Studio. She supervises the student teaching internship program and teaches ballet in the Hartt Community Dance Division. In 2013, Debra was honored with the University of Hartford’s “Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award for Part-time Faculty”. Recently, Ms. Ryder has been working with the Connecticut Dance Alliance as Dance Historian & Project Consultant for CDA’s Dance History Project: Dance in Connecticut.
While at The Hartt School, Debra has assumed many duties to include: Summer Interim Chair of the Hartt Community Dance Division, writing new curriculum for the Hartt Community Dance Division and has choreographed several works including a miniature version of the ballets Sylvia & Carmen.

Prior to her arrival at The Hartt School, she co-directed the Eastern Connecticut Ballet, where she choreographed several works of critical acclaim. She was a principal dancer with the Hartford Ballet, under the direction of Michael Uthoff, for twelve years, where she performed, and was featured in, many full-length ballets including: The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Alice in Wonderland. A versatile dancer, she was also featured in numerous modern and neo-classical works by Balanchine, Taylor, Pilobolus and many others. Also while in the Hartford Ballet, she acted as ballet mistress.

Prior to her performing career, she graduated with honors from Virginia Intermont College with a degree in Ballet Teaching, and was on full scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet. A native of Philadelphia, she presently makes her home in Farmington, Connecticut with her husband and son.

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