Iona University Dancers Earn Spot in Esteemed NYU Culture Showcase

Haley Aversa ’24, Jennifer Romain ’24 and Hannah Park, Ph.D., recently showcased their choreography and research at state conference

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Iona University students Haley Aversa ’24 and Jennifer Romain ’24 recently presented their choreographic work, a duet project titled “Fusion,” at the New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA) Conference. After a competitive review process, Aversa and Romain then set out to the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture to showcase the piece on February 4 under the mentorship of Hannah Park, Ph.D., associate professor of dance and assistant chair of the Arts & Languages Department.

“Jennifer and I were thrilled to be selected to perform at the NYSDEA Conference,” Aversa said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our hard work, while building relationships with likeminded creatives.”

The NYSDEA Conference provides dancers with the opportunity to share their ideas, methodology, and discoveries with dance educators. Selection for the conference meant Aversa and Romain had the chance to perform outside of Iona, gain exposure to the field within a professional conference setting, and build valuable connections.

“I’m so grateful to go to a school where I’m encouraged to pursue my passions and reach my full potential,” Romain said. “The whole experience was so exciting, and I learned so much along the way.” 

In addition to Aversa and Romain, Park was also invited to the NYSDEA Conference to present a lecture. Titled “Dancing Me & Us: Creative Process as Critical Pedagogy,” Park highlighted ways to link social justice and inclusion with choreographic and creative curriculums, with a focus on exploring identity. During her session, Park presented background research on critical pedagogy and teaching empathy in the context of dance.

“The pandemic has reminded dance educators of the power of arts and creativity for reflection and processing one’s thoughts and voice,” Park said. “The goal of my session was to demonstrate a way to empower and uplift participants’ voices on the topic of inclusivity through movement and creative processes. I’m honored to have been selected to present such important work.”

Iona dancers at a conference at NYU.

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona University also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona University and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, to be principally located on the University’s new campus in Bronxville, N.Y. Supported by a $20 million gift from NewYork-Presbyterian, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences offers a new vision for collaborative health care education, modern workforce development, and community care. On July 1, 2022, Iona officially changed its status from College to University, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.