Eastern Michigan University

College of Arts and Sciences

Music & Dance

direct edit

Dr. Joanna McNamara

Dance / Dance Program Coordinator

318S Porter

734.487.7120 x2714



M.A. in Dance, Mills College

Ph.D. in Dance and Related Arts, Texas Women’s University

Courses Taught

  • Elementary Dance Composition
  • History of Dance 


Dr. Joanna McNamara is a professor of dance, modern dance choreographer, and dance scholar whose research focuses on dance interpretation, aesthetics and methodology. She is a freelance dance writer for the Detroit Metro Times and serves as a periodic dance critic for the Ann Arbor News. Dr. McNamara co-directs the annual Ypsi Fringe Festival: Experiments in Dance. She holds a Ph.D. in Dance and Related Arts from Texas Women’s University and an MA in Dance in dance from Mills College. She is certified in Labanotation and is also a certified Pilates instructor.

Dr. McNamara was a 2008 Holman Learning Nominee for Outstanding Instruction in the Classroom. Her most recent dances include cross-connect, performed by eight dancers at the American College Dance Festival (2009), and Attravarsare,which premiered at the international Grand Prix Dance Festival in Italy, June, 2008, and was performed by EMU dancers. The troupe was awarded third place in contemporary dance and jazz. In June, 2007, her paper, A Hermeneutic Interpretation of Permutations in the Rite of Spring, was adjudicated for presentation at the combined international conference of Congress of Research on Dance and Society of Dance History Scholars in Paris, France.

Dr. McNamara serves on the Advisory Board for the University Musical Society, Ann Arbor, regularly participating in fundraising activities that benefit education programs for children.

The Department of Music & Dance is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 214 Pray-Harrold, 734.487.4344 • Faculty Resources