Assistant Professor of Dance
Joined Connecticut College: 2009
B.A., Hollins University
M.F.A., Hollins University/American Dance Festival
• Dance theory and composition • West African dance and folklore • Somatic practices • Dance history
Shani Collins Achille first stepped foot on Connecticut College’s campus as a performer in the OnStage performance series in Palmer Auditorium. She revisited Connecticut College as Assistant Professor of Dance in 2009 and now, with profound gratitude, shares her work with this community as she continues to experience teaching/learning, building history, and culture through dance.
A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Shani studied as a young dancer at The Greensboro Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women's Summer Institute, and received a high school diploma from The North Carolina School of the Arts.
Her professional growth developed at the American Dance Festival where she first met and studied with some of her most influential teachers: Martha Myers, Donna Faye Burchfield, Carolyn Adams, Donald McKayle, Dianne McIntyre, Jaclynn Villamil, Terrence Greene, Chuck Davis, Sherone Price, Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Eric Franklin, Khalid Saleem, Nicholas Leichter, Lynn Jackson, Marlies Yearby, Gerri Houlihan, Jeffery Bullock and Tommy DeFrantz.
A recipient of the Martha Myers Choreography Award and a “Bessie” New York Dance and Performance Award, Shani is a worldwide renowned artist for her performances with Urban Bush Women and Ronald K. Brown/ Evidence. She has choreographed on Urban Bush Women (Community “Dixwell” Project) and has performed as a guest artist with Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company, The National Dance Company of Mozambique, David Dorfman Dance Company, and in Trinidad with the Roots and Wings Movement. Shani returned to ADF as an international performing artist, was granted a teaching fellowship in the Hollins University/ ADF M.F.A. program,and served on its faculty since 2006.
She has choreographed and performed in the NYC Off Broadway Production of The Vagina Monologues at New World Stages and has participated, as a choreographer, in the Lincoln Center Director's Lab.
Shani is crowned a “Contemporary Revolutionary” by Lax Thomas in The Studio Museum Harlem Summer Magazine and featured in Dance Magazine as "Warrior Woman" by Eva Yaa Assentawa who says: “ It’s a sure bet that when she takes the stage, she will deliver not only the movement but the core, the bedrock, the very meaning and spirit of a dance.”
Her company, Eternal Works Inc, is dedicated to fostering women’s healing empowerment and facilitating community and cross-cultural dialogue. Her work has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, Kumble Theater, Joyce Soho, Judson Church, Aaron Davis Hall, "Inside/Out" Jacob's Pillow, St. Mark's Church, Bates Dance Festival, Philly Fringe Festival, Mount Tremper Arts Festival, Performatica' Dance Festival in Cholula, Mexico, and at Kaay Fecc Dance Festival in Dakar, Senegal; with choreo(graph)ic workshops in Seoul, Korea and Dakar, Senegal.
Prior to coming to Connecticut College, Shani performed and taught extensively throughout the United States and internationally. She visited MIT in the spring of 2009 as teaching artist in residence and mentored/taught M.F.A. candidates at the ADF School at Duke University.