By Nicole Curcio
Dr. Cheryl Halliburton is in her final semester as a Post faculty member. After 24 and-a-half years of working as a faculty member in the Department of Theater, Dance & Arts Management, and a co-director of the Post Concert Dance Company, Halliburton will be retiring in December.
Halliburton began her career at Post as an adjunct faculty member, teaching African dance technique. She was offered a full time position five years later, in 1992, when the jazz class was in need of an instructor.
Halliburton worked alongside then-colleague Nancy Brier to create the Post Concert Dance Company in 1996. PCDC, which is now a company strictly for dance majors, was originally put together for students on campus who enjoyed dancing but could not study it. Students would audition to become members and participate in various performances such as free impromptu performances around campus.
The success of PCDC inspired the creation of a dance major, a project that Halliburton spearheaded with her department chairperson, Dr. Cara Gargano.
The new major meant new classes, most of which Halliburton took on. She has taught African, Beginning Movement, Dance 101, and Current Dance in New York. She has also helped Director of Dance, Davyd H. Suber, Jr., with the dance major company class on Fridays.
Alyssa Navas, a senior dance major who transferred from Nassau Community College’s dance program in fall 2015, has taken many of Halliburton’s classes.
“Cheryl helped me become a more knowledgeable and well-rounded dancer,” Navas said. “[Her African class] helped familiarize me with not only African dance, but the culture as well, both of which I hadn’t had exposure to before.”
In addition to being an educator, Halliburton has continued to further her knowledge. In 2012, she began writing a dissertation, “Reengaging Disengaged Adolescent Students Through Dance: A Case Study.”
During the spring semester of 2015, Halliburton took a sabbatical to continue her dissertation research. The research took her to England, France, and South Africa, where she was able to experience three very different cultures. She took this past summer to complete her dissertation.
The decision to retire comes from the importance of change. “When you do the same thing for so long, you forget there’s other things out there,” Halliburton said. Though she loves working with the dancers of the Post Concert Dance Company, she feels the department is in need of “fresh blood.”
Following the overdue sleep that has been put off, Halliburton looks forward to traveling and exploring life outside of her 24-year routine. Down the line, Halliburton believes her inspirations will take her to create a community arts center for adolescents that will include the visual and performing arts.
“For the first time I’m not making a firm plan. I’m just going to open up the possibilities,” she said.
In preparation for her departure, the Department of Theater, Dance & Arts Management has been interviewing potential candidates to fill her shoes. Halliburton is willing to help ease the transition for the new faculty hire once the decision is made.
Suber who has worked alongside Halliburton as she has co-directed PCDC, expressed the sentiments of many who will miss Halliburton’s contribution on campus.
“Cheryl has been the foundation of this department and company for its existence,” Suber said. “Cheryl, being the co-creator of the company, has created a very strong legacy that will be hard to match.”
As for the dancers, Halliburton wants to make sure they never give up or push aside any opportunity that comes their way. “Don’t blow off any classes or opportunities; you don’t know where you will be in 10 years.” Halliburton reminds her students that their opportunities are endless and Halliburton is ready to experience new ones herself.