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Christa Oliver Selected For Harvard Performing Arts Summer Seminar

Christa Oliver, a lecturer in the Division of Dance at Texas State University, has been selected to participate in Harvard University's 2019 Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research seminar June 24-July 5.

Oliver will travel to Cambridge, Mass., to study in an intensive two-week course under distinguished scholars from around the world. Participants in the course will explore performance arts from historical and theoretical perspectives.

"I was inspired to apply to this summer's theme, Migrations, because it resonates deeply with me," Oliver said, "I live in Texas and I am directly connected to people who are mere degrees of separation removed from the highly-charged drama occurring at the Texas-Mexico border."

Oliver began dance at the age of 12 with Archangel Dance Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio. She then studied at the University of Akron, and earned a master's degree in dance performance, and a professional diploma in dance studies from the Laban Centre in London, England.

"My first dance teacher was a retired opera singer and dancer, and when she saw my sisters and I at church, she told my mom that we looked like dancers," Oliver said. "Shortly after that we began taking lessons from her in the basement of my church."

Since relocating to Texas in 2012, she has taught and choreographed for ZACH Theatre, the Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University and the Jewish Community Center.

"I decided to teach dance because I wanted to give back to my community," Oliver said. "I wanted to provide an opportunity for brown boys and girls in underserved communities to learn from a dance teacher who looked like them."

Oliver was dance captain and a soloist with the national tour of The Color Purple. Oliver was also cast as a dancer and actress in James Cameron's Oscar-winning film Avatar. Oliver has also had roles in Tim Allen's film Crazy On The Outside and Oxygen Network's Jersey Couture.

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State's 192,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under "Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity," the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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