University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts

John Parks

Associate Instructor of Dance
Modern and Jazz
Phone: (813) 974-3867

John Parks - Teacher/Choreographer/Producer/Director

John Parks, a native of New York City, began his dance studies at age five. His formal dance studies were at the Mary Bruce Dance School, Syvilla Fort Dance Studio, High School of Performing Arts, Juilliard School of Music, Jacob’s Pillow Teachers Workshop, New Dance Group, Clark Center, Martha Graham School and others.

He trained and performed in the companies of Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, David Wood, Norman Walker, Joan Peters, Jose Limon, Donald McKayle, Anna Sokolow, Pearl Primus, Percival Borde, Mary Anthony, Eleo Pomare, Ruth Currier, Rod Rodgers, Sun Ock Lee, Louis Johnson, Martha Clarke, Baralunda Olatunji, Nina Popova, Joan Miller, June Dunbar, Chuck Davis, Lucas Hoving, Alfredo Corvino, Billie Kirpitch, Norman Walker and others.

He has also performed, directed, choreographed, taught or produced in the following places: the opening of the Kennedy Center with Leonard Bernstein's "Mass;” The American Dance Festival; Florida Dance Festive; Lincoln Center; Harvard Summer Dance; and Spoleto Piccolo Festival, City Center.

His film/television and broadway credits include (film), Rage in Harlem, Rosewood, Malcolm X and the The Wiz. On Broadway, he also served as assistant to the choreographer, dance captain for the seven Tony Awards-winning play, The Wiz, for five years. Television credits include: “Bill Cosby Christmas Special” featuring members and former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and "The Strolling '20s" with Langston Hughes, Sidney Portier, Harry Belafonte, and Duke Ellington.

Before joining the Ailey Co.,  John Parks formed his own company, Movements Black Dance Repertory Theatre, whose works focused mainly on the systemic and endemic racism of Black people that was and is so prevalent throughout the world.

Mr. Parks has performed, taught and lectured throughout these United States as well as Europe, Africa and China.

Before relocating to Tampa, Florida to take a teaching position at the University of South Florida, John’s endeavors led him to directing, choreographing and producing works for the theater and community organizations. Through the Affiliate-Artists Program, John designed his own one-man show that toured the United States and Africa.

He has been teaching at the University South Florida for the past 30 years. In addition, he has worked with a number of community arts organizations, such as University Community Center, Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, Taproot Community Cultural Center, Ink Well Center, and the Arts Legacy program at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, just to name a few.

Recently, he has established The Parks Institute dedicated to promoting dance as a healing modality. The Institute is now working with The Peabody Institute,“Valencia College, The Arts Legacy, TapRoot Cultural Center (a place where healing begins) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, International Arts + Mind Lab of the Brain Science Institute.