Dance Faculty and Staff | Coppin State University

Dance Faculty and Staff

Dance Faculty and Staff

The Coppin Institute for Intergenerational Arts program offering dance and holistic healing arts classes for teens, adults and senior citizens and dance performance workshops taught by renowned national and international dance educators who have extensive dance training in their field of expertise.


Vanessa ColesVanessa L. Jackson

Associate Professor, Director (Ballet, Distance Education)

Vanessa Jackson is an Associate Professor and Director of the Coppin State University Dance program. She was the first CAPA (Creative and Performing Artists) Scholar at the University of Maryland College Park and a graduate teaching assistant at Temple University where she received her MFA dance. She has taught at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, University of Maryland at College Park, and directed the dance program at The Community College of Baltimore County for several years prior to coming to Coppin. She also has a MA in Instructional Technology Systems received from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and recently received her 200 hour yoga certification. Vanessa has received several City and State grants for her Kids in Motion Outreach program.

Diedre N. DawkinsDiedre N. Dawkins

Adjunct Faculty

Diedre N. Dawkins is a 2003 Bessie Award winner and founder of "Dance is Healing" mentoring for middle school girls through dance. Diedre graduated from the N.Y.C. High School of the Performing Arts and received her B.F.A. in dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and her M.F.A. in choreography and performance from The University of Maryland College Park. She is currently pursuing her K-12 Teacher Certification at Towson University. She was a member of Ronald K. Brown /Evidence Dance Company for 8 years where she had the privilege of teaching and performing throughout the United States, Senegal West Africa, Switzerland, Greece, France, London and Cuba. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has worked with artists such as Bill T. Jones (FELA), Bebe Miller, Kevin Iega Jeff (Deeply Rooted Dance Theater), Jawole Zollar (Urban Bush Women) and Amaniyea Payne (Muntu Dance Theater).

For the past 6 years, Diedre has been an adjunct professor in dance at Coppin State University and is currently the Arts Director at ConneXions: A Community Based Arts School where she has been named ConneXions 2016-17 Teacher of the Year! She is the founder and director of ConneXions Repertory Company, which is comprised of ConneXions students and Alumni. This fall, the repertory company humbly accepted an invitation to perform at the Opening Ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Nations Capital. Her accomplishments as a program facilitator/Dance Director includes statewide dance performance exposure and exceptional audition preparation for students resulting in entry to elite arts institutions throughout the United States.

Diedre is the Modern Dance Instructor at Alvin Ailey Camp/Towson. She has been an adjunct professor in Dance at Towson University and a visiting artist at Howard University. She's a teaching artist with Young Audiences of Maryland and has worked as a consultant, artistic director, and dance program facilitator for various Arts institutions throughout the United States. Diedre has created highly successful “Literacy through the Arts Curriculum” for grades pre-k through 8 and was the co-chair of the committee working to revise the Dance Curriculum for Baltimore City Schools. She is the Director of Dance is Healing Performing Arts Preparatory where she provides summer dance instruction with a concentration in health and political awareness and is also the founder of the DPAP 6week summer intensive which culminates in a week of dance immersion in NYC. Diedre has a deep love for children and the art of teaching and as a result youth and the betterment of her community is her life work.

Florian RouillerFlorian Rouiller

Adjunct Faculty

Florian Rouiller is a dance teacher, choreographer, and performer who has worked extensively across three continents. Mr. Rouiller has an MFA in Dance from the University of Maryland, where he choreographed and performed the original productions Profondeur Inconnue and Wave while continuing extensive performance with local dance companies outside the university. Mr. Rouiller began his dance career with training at the prestigious John Cranko School in Stuttgart with a BFA, and performed with the Stuttgart Ballet in productions such as Sleeping Beauty and Giselle. Upon immigrating to the United States, he danced with Merce Cunningham Dance Company as an apprentice, Ohio Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Metropolitan Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Ballet International Eldar Aliev, Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas coach by Vladimir Luphokov and Ballet Contemporanea de Caracas in Venezuela, as well as Goteborg Ballet in Sweden. Performing soloist and principal roles and working with choreographers such as Alonzo King, Jiri Kylian, Simon Dow, Robert North, Jorma Uotinen, Jean-Paul Comelin, Lynne Taylor Corbett to name a few. He has also performed with many companies throughout the United States and taught extensively, including at the Kirov Academy in Washington DC, the Washington Ballet School, City Dance Ensemble, and other schools throughout the Washington DC area. In the DC area, he has performed with City Dance Ensemble, Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Lucy Bowen McCauley, Karen Reedy. His piece Fragments was at the finals in the 2010 Korean Ballet competition and his Female solo Verge just won the 3 prizes at YAGP competition in 2013. He also won 3 prizes in the Men division 2015 at YAGP. Mr. Rouiller is currently teaching and choreographing in the DC area. This year he is teaching at Coppin State University, Baltimore Community College and Montgomery College. Fall 2013 Resident artist at UMBC. Currently he is working at Baltimore School of the Arts, UMBC, Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland and Coppin State University. Also he was a guest teacher at Towson University and David Elkins College. Summer 2015 Kirov academy in DC. His choreographic works has been seeing at the Kennedy Center, UMD, HCC, UMBC and Atlas Theater in DC to name a few. He is featured in Lois Greenfield new book Moving Still in NY.