The Boston Conservatory Appoints Duane Lee Holland Jr. as First Hip-Hop Dance Faculty

By 
Margot Edwards
May 11, 2016
Duane Lee Holland Jr.
Photo provided by the artist.

The Boston Conservatory has named its first-ever full time faculty position in hip-hop dance. Dancer, choreographer, singer, actor, and director Duane Lee Holland Jr. will join the Boston Conservatory’s Dance Division and teach electives for Berklee students beginning in the fall of 2016. This is the Boston Conservatory’s first faculty appointment since its merger with Berklee was approved, and the first Conservatory teaching role that will be available to both Conservatory and Berklee students.

“The Conservatory considers hip-hop dance to be an essential, although often under-represented aspect of a contemporary dance curriculum. As a leading and innovative contemporary dance program, we are proud to offer hip-hop dance as a subject of rigorous study, both in the studio and through academic coursework,” said Cathy Young, director of the Dance Division at the Boston Conservatory. “Duane Lee Holland has a depth of expertise not only as a performer and choreographer of hip-hop, but as a scholar, which places him at the forefront of the field.”

“I’m extremely humbled and honored to work with the future stars of music, dance, and theater,” said Holland. “I’ve taught a wide range of talent over the years and I feel the main objective is to provide empowerment through a healthy and rigorous process of practice and theory. Students at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee individually already embody the balance of rigorous practice and theory. I look forward to collaborating with them to cultivate an encouraging environment of innovation and continued excellence.”     

Philadelphia native Holland began his professional dance career at 17 with Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM), the first hip-hop theater dance company, where he later served as assistant artistic director. While performing with RHPM, he also taught at MIT, Stanford University, Jacob's Pillow, University of Utah, UCLA, Monte Carlo Ballet Company, Pennsylvania Ballet Company, Philadanco, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Broadway Dance Center. Holland has worked with choreographers including Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, Garth Fagan (The Lion King), and Jeff Masted (A Few Good Men). He was also assistant choreographer and assistant dance captain for Maurice Hines’s Hot Feet on Broadway, and was featured in Jerry Mitchell's AIDS benefit, Broadway Bares: New York Strip.

Holland has taught at Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, and at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Holland is a visiting assistant professor in the University of Iowa’s Dance Department, where he was the first hip-hop artist/choreographer to graduate from the dance program with a Master of Fine Arts.

Watch Holland perform at Berklee's Multicultural Welcome Concert with Berklee alumnus Jörn Bielfeldt: