Campus News

Dance faculty member named to first Jane Willson Professorship in Arts

Bala Sarasvati, a professor of dance in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been named to the first Jane Willson Professorship in Arts.

The new professorship was endowed by Willson, of Albany, who with her late husband Harry, developed strong ties with UGA. The Willsons have been among the university’s most generous benefactors, and they also have supported educational and civic activities across the state. The Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts at UGA received major support from them and bears their name.

The new professorship is funded through a grant to the Willson Center. As Willson Professor in Arts, Sarasvati will receive an account that she may use to support her scholarship. The appointment was approved at the board of regents’ April meeting.

Sarasvati has been a faculty member at UGA since 1991, is artistic director of the CORE Concert Dance Company and was director of the department of dance’s Concert Dance Company from 1992 to 2000. She has choreographed more than 30 full-length pieces, and her work has been selected and performed at venues across the U.S. and internationally.

“I am very grateful and honored to be appointed the first Jane Willson Professor in Arts,” said Sarasvati. “This award provides me the ability to continue developing and pursuing new possibilities in performance training, interdisciplinary collaboration and multimedia dance production and to serve the creative inquiry that our young dance artists are currently investigating.”

Sarasvati has presented her work as a teacher, performer and choreographer across the country. She holds bachelor’s and bachelor’s of fine arts dance degrees from the University of Utah and master’s and master’s of fine arts dance degrees from Ohio State University.

“We’re so pleased that Bala Sarasvati is the first recipient of this professorship,” said Garnett S. Stokes, dean of the Franklin College. “She is an outstanding faculty member and a superb choice for this honor.”

Sarasvati teaches dance composition, improvisation, modern technique, Laban Movement Analysis and the science of dance training.