Nyama McCarthy-Brown

Nyama McCarthy-Brown


  • Ph.D., Dance Education and Cultural Studies, Temple University, 2007
  • M.F.A., Performance and Choreography, University of Michigan, 2003
  • B.A., Political Science, Spelman College, 1999

About Nyama McCarthy-Brown

Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown is an assistant professor of contemporary dance. This past year she was awarded a competitive fellowship to attend the 2015 Mellon Summer Dance Studies Seminar at Northwestern University. In July, Nyama attended the New Waves! Summer Dance Institute in Port of Spain, Trinidad. While there she presented excerpts from "Wanted" at the Dancing While Black Performance Lab. Also, during summer of 2015, she was selected to participate in Doug Varone's choreographic intensive, Devices, at Purchase College in New York. As an outcome of Varone's mentorship, Nyama choreographed and performed a new work, "Location: Lost," at the 92nd Street Y in August.

Before coming to Bloomington, Indiana, she completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Bowdoin College where she also served as a visiting professor for one year. There she has taught Afro-modern, Cultural Choreographies, jazz, ballet, and African-derived Dances in America. She also served as the choreographer for the fall musical production of The Pajama Game.

She received her B.A. Degree in Political Science from Spelman College in 1999 and completed her M.F.A. in Performance and Choreography at the University of Michigan in 2003. She was awarded the Future Faculty Fellowship from Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2007. At Temple, she completed her Ph.D. with a focus on Dance Education and Cultural Studies. In 2009, Nyama became a fellow of the Center for the Humanities at Temple.

As an emerging scholar, her research interests center around culturally relevant dance pedagogy and people of color in concert dance. Her recent dissertation research focused on the examination of values of cultural diversity in higher education. Dr. McCarthy-Brown’s scholarship is interdisciplinary and always relates to heightened understanding of cultural diversity. She has published work in the Journal of African American Studies, the Journal of Dance Education, and Arts Education Policy Review. Currently, she is working on a monograph about culturally relevant teaching in dance.

Nyama has been an active performer and choreographer for the past ten years. Originally from San Francisco, her love for dance developed at her community recreation center, and later at the School of the Arts High School. In the spring of 2015, she choreographed and performed in a trio for the Amalgamate Artists Series in New York. She has contributed to the Indiana University and Bowdoin College dance community as a performer and choroegrapher in faculty dance concerts. She produced, choreographed, and performed in the first doctoral dance concert at Temple University. While in Atlanta, Dr. McCarthy-Brown performed as a guest artist with Ballethnic Dance Company. She also performed for South African President Thabo Mbeki while performing throughout South Africa with singing artist Tu Nokwe. In recent years she began to study social dance forms such as salsa, swing, and tango--which included an intensive indendent study in Buenos Aires. Nyama is committed to her development as a dance practitioner. In 2013 and 2014 she attended the Bates Dance Festival, and she was awarded two grants to study dance in New York City. This fall she will present a new work at the 92nd street Y, in New York City.

Teaching courses in both physical practices and dance theory are vital to Nyama. She strives for greater understanding through embodied research and experiential learning. Her teaching interests include: dance pedagogy; the embodiment of cultural diversity through dance; Afro-modern; and salsa. As a dance educator Nyama works to provide students with an enjoyable educational experience that will stretch them physically and intellectually. Nyama is committed to dance education for at-risk youths and taught dance in public schools from 1999-2011.

In 2011, Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown and Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin founded the CORD Diversity Working Group and currently work together as co-chairs. This working group was created to support networking opportunities for CORD members who have an interest in multiculturalism in dance curriculums. The group focuses on how to best address the needs of 21st century students, all of whom are living in intensely globalized worlds. No longer does it suffice to include a lecture on “Black Performance” or offer an “Asian-influenced” creative work as a part of our dance courses. Rather, dance programs are expected to integrate cultural relevancy throughout our curriculum choices, pedagogy practices, and course selections.

Dr. McCarthy-Brown is also a social dancer. She enjoys salsa, swing and tango, and delights in sharing these community-oriented dance practices with her students.

Recent Credits

The 2018 Winter Dance Concert: Bodies of Light

IU Theatre — Choreographer

Roots to Wings

IU Contemporary Dance Theatre — Choreographer

The 2016 Winter Dance Concert: Leading Edges

IU Contemporary Dance Theatre — Choreographer