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Kathleen Ridlon


Kathleen Ridlon

Associate Professor of Dance, Director of the Kleine Center

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Associate Professor of Dance

Kathleen Ridlon

General Interests
What we learn about ourselves and others through the study of dance is vital to understanding our personal, social, and cultural perspectives. When I teach and choreograph, I seek to nurture and celebrate a sense of community. Throughout, I am interested in exploring how and why engagement with dance is important to individuals, communities, and society. Sharing dance is paramount to the continued evolution of dance.

As an educator, I seek to increase students' understanding of the context of their dance experiences with the aim of inspiring them to share their knowledge in their own communities. The community is where dance takes place—it is also the group of people who are doing the dance. It is when we bring dance into the community that we can begin to more deeply understand the impact of historical, social, political, cultural, and artistic influences. Community engagement with dance, and other ‘out of classroom', ‘real-world experiences', provides a bridge for translating theoretical knowledge into applied knowledge. My interdisciplinary research unities Dance in Education and Community Based Learning.

As the director for the Center for Community Service at Knox College I work with students, faculty and staff, and our community partners to create and maintain service and engagement opportunities. Our service projects reach local, regional, National and International communities. These endeavors celebrate a Knox mission "to put learning to use" where students translate learned knowledge into applied knowledge in a real world setting.

M.F.A., 1998, Smith College.
B.A., 1996, City College of New York.
Certificate, 1988, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center
A.A., 1986, Dean College

Teaching Interests
Community Engagement, Modern and Jazz dance, Improvisation, Movement for the Actor, Composition, Creative Movement, and Dance history

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Choreography/Community Based Learning/Dissemination, 2016-2017.
  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Interdisciplinary Course Enhancement: Two-term course in Dance "Community Outreach: Programming in the Arts," and Guest Lecture and performance at the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts, 2016-2017.

National Dance in Education Conference: Equity and Access: Dance Education For All Community Based Learning in Dance: How Does it Work? (2017)

Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Dance Project Beloit and Knox College: Dance and Community Based Learning and Entrepreneurship (2016)

International Conference on Somatics-Based Dance Education, Dean College, Franklin, MA (2015)

Embodied Dance History, Co-present with student Carly Taylor (2015)

Panel Discussion: Designing a Somatics-Based Dance Curriculum (2015)

Co-present with Knox College Director of Dance: Jennifer Smith and student Jess hale (2015)

IMPACT Conference, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA. Workshop: Sharing the Dance ~ Step Dance Workshop: a Service Learning Project to enhance social skills for at risk High School students. Co-present with students Angela McNeal and Valencia Short (2015)

Illinois Reading Conference, Springfield, Illinois Workshop: Integrating Common Core Standards: Movement across the curriculum. Co-Present: Victoria Romano (2013)

Illinois Reading Conference, Springfield, Illinois Workshop: Integrating Dance K-12 Teaching: Best Practice Co-Present: Victoria Romano (2012)

Illinois Student Assistance Commission College Access Challenge Grant Knox College Summer Dance Intensive: Dance in Higher Education with the Moscow Ballet (2011)

Dance Residencies

  • Beloit College, Beloit, WI (2016) 
  • Missouri State University, Springfield, MO (2014)
  • University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (2004, 2006, 2009)
  • University of Minnesota, Morris, MN (2007)
  • University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA (2006)

Campus & Community Involvement

  • National Dance in Education Organization, Member (2014 - present)
  • American College Dance Association, Member (2003 - present)
  • Illinois Art Council Arts in Education Artist Roster (2006 - present)
  • Illinois Reading Council (2012 - 2014)
  • Congress on Research in Dance, USA (2011 - 2013)
  • Illinois Art Council Arts in Education Grant Advisory Panel (2008, 2009)

Outreach through Midwest Dance Group, Galesburg IL
Founder/Director (2005 - 2015)
Mission: To create a sense of community through movement and dance making. MDG is dedicated to presenting professional dance performance and offering movement workshops and access to dance education through community outreach. Knox College Mellon Grants 2006-2014 and Illinois Art Council, Artist Grant 2013.

  • Movin on Up, Galesburg Community School District: Steele School (March 2015)
  • Choral Dynamics: Choreographer in Residence (2008 - 2015)
  • Service Through Dance, Galesburg Community School District: GHS North (2013 -2014)
  • Galesburg Civic Art Center Art in the Park: Choreographer in Residence (2007 - 2012)
  • Carl Sandburg College Continuing Education: Dance Sampler (2013)
  • Dance Forever, Galesburg Community School District: GHS North (2011)
  • Knox College Summer Dance Intensive: Dance In Higher Education (2011)
  • Dance Immersion, Knox College Summer Children's Program (2009)
  • Boys and Girls Club of Knox County and Midwest Dance Group (2008 - 2001)
  • Let's Move It, Boys and Girls Club of Knox County and Knox College (2007)
  • Movement Recess, Galesburg Community School District: Steele School (2006)

What Students Say
"Kathleen is a vibrant teacher with a genuine interest in helping you succeed not only as a movement artist but also as a respectful, motivated citizen of the world. She pushes you towards your highest potential in both creative & technical movement as well as writing skills & creative thought with a remarkable level of dedication; simply put, Kathleen is a powerhouse with your best interests at heart."
-Kyla Tully, Self Designed Dance Studies Major

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Printed on Sunday, June 23, 2024