|Flourish Online Magazine||Spring 2012|
Ivan Pulinkala: Sharing the love of dance
By Johanna Brown
Photo by Robert Pack
Ivan Pulinkala, director of the Program in Dance at Kennesaw State, is an active educator, dancer, choreographer and author. In his spare time, he is also pursuing his doctorate in higher education administration. “I guess I like being busy,” Pulinkala jokes.
Since his arrival at KSU in 2005, Pulinkala has been busy working to make KSU, and the greater Cobb County community, an epicenter for dance. In just seven short years, the Program in Dance has grown from a minor in the College of the Arts into a robust major with more than 100 declared students. Under Pulinkala’s direction, the program has formed community partnerships with leading dance organizations such as the Atlanta Ballet and gloATL, and recently built the largest dance studio in the metro Atlanta area. “I think our exponential growth indicates a real need for dance in the community,” Pulinkala explains.
His latest choreography, “Rhizome,” premiered last November at KSU to a sold-out run. Performed by the students in the KSU Dance Company, “Rhizome” used hand-held lights designed by Assistant Professor Rebecca Makus and scenery designed by Professor Ming Chen to create a visually stunning world. Professional reviews have described the work as “kinetic...with performers who are polished.”
“I am very proud of our students and what they have accomplished,” says Pulinkala. “I am very happy to showcase their work and talent in our community, both regionally and nationally.”
This spring, the KSU Dance Company performed “Rhizome” at the regional American College Dance Festival at Darton College in Albany, Ga. Their performance earned them their third invitation to the national festival, which will be held in May at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Pulinkala is the only choreographer in the history of the American College Dance Festival to have work selected for three successive national festivals.
As an educator, Pulinkala is interested in the blending of creative and research scholarship. “The department models what we call the ‘scholar-artist’,” explains Pulinkala. “I continue to be an active practitioner while pursuing a scholarly agenda. I really enjoy it and feel that one always enhances and enriches the other.”
Looking forward, Pulinkala is excited by the possibilities for the Program in Dance. “We are on the road to becoming the fourth department in the College of the Arts,” Pulinkala predicts. In addition, Pulinkala hopes to continue to develop the program by expanding the facilities and potentially creating a graduate program.
“This is not a one-man operation,” Pulinkala adds. “I feel very fortunate to have the support of the KSU administration, a great set of faculty who work in the program and department, and the staff at the College of the Arts. It is really a team effort.”
Read more about Ivan Pulinkala at: www.ivanpulinkala.com.