University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts

Emeriti and Retired Faculty

Denis Calandra

Professor Emeritus of Theatre
Shakespeare for Theatre and American Drama

Denis Calandra is a writer and teacher.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Denis Calandra earned a doctorate from the University of Nebraska. For seven years, he taught drama and theatre in Germany (at the University of Regensburg) and in London, England (at Middlesex University). In 1978 he came to the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Fla. He chaired the Department of Theatre from 1992 to 2001. As chair he was instrumental in establishing the $2 million endowed British International Theatre guest artist program.

Calandra's publications include two books, New German Dramatists, Macmillan, London and New York, 1983; and Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Plays, PAJ, New York, 1985; reissued by Johns Hopkins Press, 1992. The latter remains in print in 2006. The translations are regularly produced professionally throughout the Anglophone world. In 2005 his Petra von Kant translation served as the libretto for Gerald Barry's opera of the same name: premiere in London at English National Opera. A two-CD recording of the opera with the Irish National Orchestra is also in print.

Calandra has written for numerous professional and academic journals. His chapter on 'reception theory and audiences' appears in New Directions in Theatre, Macmillan, London, 1993. His article on Bertolt Brecht and the popular Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin appears as a chapter in Popular Theatre, Routledge, New York and London, 2003.

In 1991, with a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, Calandra conceived, produced and directed the Florida Chautauqua, an interactive chronicle which toured the state.

In 1993 Calandra and Jose Yglesias wrote and produced a stage version of Studs Terkel's Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession.

Calandra's research in 1990/91 with Dr. Nicholas Hall (psychoneuroimmunology, USF) on actors' immune system responses in rehearsal and performance led to a pilot study during a residency at the Arizona State University Institute for Studies in the Arts. The study was filmed for Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers (PBS). An article on the project by Hall, Calandra and others appears in Advances, the Journal of Mind-Body Health, Vol 10, #4, 1994.

In 2005 Calandra’s original play with music, Cuban Bread, premiered in Tampa as part of the city-wide ARTE 2005 festival.

In 2008 Calandra and Matthew Francis’s adaptation of Carl Hiaasen’s novel Lucky You premiered professionally at the Assembly Rooms at The Edinburgh Festival. It subsequently played the Oxford Playhouse in England. The play had a developmental production at the Waterfront Theater in Key West in 2006.

The chief innovation in Calandra's teaching career has been the establishment of the undergraduate research Theatre Honors Program at USF. For the past 20 years this program – noted as 'exemplary' by the National Association of Schools of Theatre – has attracted motivated students to intensive research in performance and in academic fields under the guidance of top faculty and international artists.

 

Nancy Cole

Professor Emerita of Theatre

Nancy Cole was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in a combination of places, from Washington, D.C., to England, and then Middletown, Ohio. "Because of the size of our community in Ohio, I more or less postponed my real theatre training until I went to university." Nancy attended Indiana University, and then went on to obtain her Master of Fine Arts degree, the terminal degree for those in the practicing fine arts fields.

In 1976 she was urged to apply for the Chair of the Theatre Department at the University of South Florida. Nancy accepted the job and has been involved with USF in the College of Visual and Performing Arts for 30 years. During her time here at USF she has made an impact on students both inside the classroom and out. She directed and produced many plays here at USF and in the Tampa community.

 

Sandra Robinson

Professor Emerita of Dance  

Sandra Robinson has been an associate professor of the dance faculty in the College of The Arts at the University of South Florida since 1982 and was appointed associate director of the School of Theatre & Dance in 2001. Prior to this, Professor Robinson earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in ballet performance at the prestigious North Carolina School of Arts and performed professionally with North Carolina Dance Theatre (NCDT) and Pennsylvania Ballet. In her position as Ballet Mistress for NCDT, she worked closely with director Robert Lindgren in the restaging of classical and modern repertory and the training of company members. Professor Robinson assisted Agnes de Mille in the formation of her company, American Dance Heritage, and assisted Ann Reinking in the California production of Chicago and a ballet, Nilsson Schmilsson for Spectrum Dance Theatre in Seattle.

She has studied ballet pedagogy throughout the United States and Canada and developed and directed the Soviet Ballet Teaching Seminar, which employed an international faculty and was designed for serious dancers and teachers from throughout the United States. Since 1990 she has taught and choreographed in summer programs across the country including Ann Reinking's Broadway Theatre Project. Additionally, she has choreographed numerous ballets and commissioned works for dance companies nationally.

Professor Robinson has been the recipient of a number of grants and awards for a variety of professional endeavors, including support funding toward the training and certification of body conditioning on the Pilates reformer and in 1997 she was awarded the EXCEL Leadership Fellowship for Women and Minorities. In recognition for excellence in teaching, she has received the competitive TIP Award and the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. The Gwen Verdon Award for Excellence in Arts and Education was presented to her by Ann Reinking at the final performance of the 2004 Broadway Theatre Project.

In addition to her work as a teacher and choreographer, Professor Robinson has been the coordinator for Student Services and Academic Advising at the USF School of Theatre & Dance and the director of Dance Studies at Jacksonville University’s Department of Dance. She has earned appointments to the boards of Tampa Ballet, Florida Dance Association, the Hillsborough County Arts Council, the Magnet Schools Arts Coalition, the Junior League of Tampa, and the National Society of Arts and Letters. As the Dance Specialist for the published Teaching Manual Integrated Arts Projects for Boys and Girls, her written contributions are being used as a guide in area Boys and Girls Clubs.

Professor Robinson utilized a year-long sabbatical from USF to act as Interim Director of the Classical Ballet Training Program at the Patel Conservatory of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and to do research for the publication of a book on dance teacher training. She continues to coach dancers and expand her professional horizons.

 

Christopher Steele

Professor Emeritus of Theatre
Directing, Literature and Circus

Christopher Steele received his Bachelor of Arts from Reed College as a dance/theatre major, and his Master of Fine Arts in directing from Southern Methodist University. Between his degrees he performed with a Lecoq-based physical theatre company, and taught circus for the city of Portland. In 1979 he joined the USF faculty where he teaches directing, acting styles, circus, stage combat, and, when he can, Irish dramatic literature. He has been instrumental in the development and teaching of the departmental honors program. He has directed over 50 productions in both professional and academic venues.

 

G. B. Stephens

Associate Professor Emeritus of Theatre  

G.B. Stephens is an Associate Professor of Design at the University of South Florida School of Theatre & Dance in Tampa, Fla. He has designed scenery and lighting for over 110 productions in the Tampa Bay community since 1982. Recent USF projects have included set designs for the theatre department productions of Euripides' Ion, An Evening of Cabaret, Boy's Life, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Making of GONE WITH THE WIND, A Buffoon’s Tale and Experiment With An Air Pump, Honk the Ugly Duckling; lighting designer for TheatreUSF's Cabaret, The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe, Trojan Women, Tale of Tsuru, Of Mice and Men, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, The Golden Ass, Lysistrate' Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and Rashomon.

Other freelance projects have been a Harlem Renaissance adaptation of Miss Julie, A Christmas Carol and Private Lives at the American Stage Theatre; lighting and scenic design for the Miami Light Project's world premiere of Drummin', a collaboration featuring nationally renowned composer Tania J. Leon, choreographer Bebe Miller and the multimedia of Philip Mallory Jones at the Lincoln Theatre in Miami Beach and scenic designs for the St. Petersburg Jr. College Dance Department. In May 2002 he had an exhibition of digital images which included works from his "Digital Dance" collection.

He is an advisory board member of the Tampa-based dance collective Moving Current, providing light designs or production advice for their last 15 concerts. G. B. was the recipient of the 2000 Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts Award for outstanding contribution to a Tampa Bay arts organization for his work with Moving Current.

G.B. has worked years to integrate the use of AutoCAD and cyber-models into the scenic and lighting design process for the theatre. His most recent designs of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, The Golden Ass, Lysistrate' Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and Rashomon have all been digitally designed.

Originally from Chicago, G.B. has done scenery, lighting and multimedia visuals for over 35 productions for Columbia College Theatre-Music Department, the Mo Ming Dance Collective and the Body Politic Theatre. His work with visual and multimedia design spans back to his days at Columbia College.

 

Gretchen Ward Warren

Professor Emerita of Dance

Gretchen Ward Warren has been a professor of dance in the College of The Arts at the University of South Florida in Tampa since 1983. Prior to this, she was a soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet (1965-76) and Ballet Mistress of American Ballet Theatre II in New York (1978-83). As a dancer, Ms. Warren was trained in New York City and at London's Royal Ballet School. She is the author of two best-selling books, Classical Ballet Technique and The Art of Teaching Ballet. Well-known as a master teacher, she has taught at the National Ballet School of Canada, the Australian Ballet School, the Boston Ballet School, Ballet Austin Academy in Texas, the Kansas City Ballet School, the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts, the Ballet Aspen (formerly Ballet West) Summer Dance School in Colorado, the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Walnut Hill School.

In addition to her work as a teacher and choreographer, Warren is also a member of United Scenic Artists and has designed costumes for numerous dance companies, including American Ballet Theatre and The Joffrey Ballet. She is listed in Who's Who in America, has served as a consultant-site visitor for the National Endowment of the Arts Dance Panel and the Dance Heritage Division of the Canada Arts Council. In the early 1990's, Warren functioned as the arts commentator for the NPR-affiliate radio station WUSF-FM in Tampa. She has also written for Dance magazine, Dance View, Dance Teacher Now, Pointe magazine and The St. Petersburg Times.

In 1997, Warren taught and conducted research for six months in Australia as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2001, as a result of her experiences with Australian Aborigines and Native Americans, she wrote and directed a three-act dance theatre production Dancing With The Wheel of Ever Returning. It was voted "Best Performance Event" for 2001 by The Weekly Planet, the Tampa Bay area's alternative newspaper. Warren is currently working on a book about her experiences in Australia and this production. In 2002, she was honored to receive the Fulbright Association's Selma Jeanne Cohen Award for International Research in Dance. That same year, Warren was invited to Cuba for the 18th International Ballet Festival of Havana where she taught masterclasses at the National Ballet School of Cuba and reviewed festival performances for the American dance journal, Dance View.

At USF, Warren teaches all levels of ballet technique, as well as Twentieth Century Dance History and Senior Seminar. Her hobby is growing roses. She maintains a garden with 160 rose bushes in Tampa and enjoys exhibiting her roses in horticultural shows across Florida. She is also an award-winning photographer of roses.

 

David Williams

Associate Professor Emeritus of Theatre

David Williams received his Master of Fine Arts from Florida State University. He studied with Lester Polakof at the Studio & Forum of Stage Design in New York City and has taken masterclasses with Josef Svoboda. Before joining the faculty at the University of South Florida, David was a member of the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre and toured extensively both nationally & internationally. He holds Lighting Design membership in United Scenic Artists local #829.

For more than four decades he has been associated with USF as a student, a member of the faculty, and as a guest artist. For many years he headed the BFA Theatre Design program. Administratively he has served as Acting Chair of the Theatre Department and Acting Chair of the Dance Department. 

Recent designs include productions for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa Repertory Theatre, Patel Conservatory’s Next Generation Ballet Co., and a number of shows at USF.