Jamaican dance expert joins UCT

18 May 2012

Lisa WilsonDancing her way up: Lisa Wilson will share her many years of experience in dance with UCT students.

It is evident from her defined movements, distinctive dancer's posture and colourful back story that dance and music are in Lisa Wilson's blood.

This could be why the Jamaican-born Wilson received the nod to teach and convene contemporary dance at UCT's School of Dance, joining the university in April.

Dance has always been a part of her life, says Wilson. It started, as a youngster, with musicals; in which she would sing – but musicals, as they do, also meant dance and choreography.

"I realised then that I had a natural ability to express myself through movement, but I was not attracted to the long hours of physical training," Wilson recalls.

That commitment came with time. "Soon I was addicted to the dynamic challenge and thrill of sensing, integrating and moving mind, body and soul in any given time and space."

Wilson's career was not straightforward, though.

There were no degrees in arts and dance in Jamaica back in her university years, and instead she took a detour into management and economics, studying at the University of the West Indies. Dance remained the dream, however.

After graduation, Wilson hopped on a plane; first to Australia, where she completed a bachelor of fine arts in dance at the Wesley Institute. She then trekked to the University of Exeter in the UK for a master's degree in education in dance and the creative arts.

She's picked up a wealth of experience since then.

Before joining UCT she worked as a senior lecturer in contemporary dance, and was head of the dance education department at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts School of Dance in Kingston, Jamaica, where she had been a lecturer since 2002.

UCT got Wilson's attention primarily due to its support for and commitment to research, she says.

"The post at the School of Dance was attractive due to the fact that the area of contemporary dance in the School of Dance was an emerging one which, with the necessary support, could provide much opportunity for artistic experimentation, creative research and academic leadership in contemporary dance and its pedagogy."

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