James W. Robey

James Robey headshot

Chair/Associate Professor
B123 Peters Hall
(540) 831-5186


James W. Robey joined Radford University in 2018 as Chair/Associate Professor for the Department of Dance, coming from Webster University in St. Louis where he also served as Chair, received the 2015 Wilma and Roswell Messing Jr. Faculty Award, and graduated from the Global Leadership Academy in 2017.  James researches the crossroads of creativity and commerce, exploring leadership, innovation, and learning from holistic and developmental perspectives to design systems, models, and experiences for dance education. James holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Akron and an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His publications include  Beginning Jazz Dance (Human Kinetics, Inc), the Robey Jazz Dance Technique and Curriculum™, and Dance Paradigms: From Traditional to Postmodern and Beyond.

James' professional concert dance experience includes the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, GroundWorks Dance Theater, Connecticut Ballet, New York Dance Theater, Ohio Dance Theater, Off Center Dance Theater, Cleveland Opera, Covenant Ballet Theater of Brooklyn, CelloPointe, and his entertainment dance experience includes Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Busch Gardens.

As a choreographer, James founded the Bare Bones Dance Project in New York City, later renamed James Robey Dance in Connecticut. He received grants and commissions from the Connecticut Dance Alliance curated by Dan Wagoner and in collaboration with composer Neely Bruce, the Connecticut Choreographers Forum curated by Martha Myers, the Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis, and a Webster University Faculty Research grant. In addition to his own company, James created six works with Grammy-nominated chamber musicians for CelloPointe in NYC; choreographed in collaboration with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra in CT; and developed a site-specific performance with the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. He choreographed for the Tennyson Williams Play Festival, St. Louis; for the Jazz Dance World Congress Choreography Competitive Event in 2000 and 2007 in Chicago; and created works for Connecticut Ballet, Modern American Dance Company, Missouri Ballet Theatre, Full Force Dance Theatre, Ohio Dance Theatre, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, SKIP Entertainment Company in Guam, productions of The Nutcracker for Ridgefield Civic Ballet and the Danbury Music Center, festivals throughout the United States and Italy, and for several universities.

As an educator, he served as faculty member at the St. Louis, Thailand, and Switzerland campuses of Webster University, The Hartt School/University of Hartford, University of Akron, Broadway Dance Center, Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, Eastern Connecticut Ballet, Long Island High School for Performing Arts, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Manhattan Motion Dance Studios, The Dance Institute, Western Reserve Academy, and Ohio Dance Theatre. He presented guest artist workshops, master classes, or residencies at Mahidol University and the Patravadi School in Thailand, Centre Stage School of the Arts in Singapore, Conservatoire Populaire de musique, danse et theartré in Switzerland, Artists in Motion Network in Canada, Yale University, Wellesley College, Purdue University, The Big Muddy Dance Company, Modern American Dance Company, Synthesis Dance Project in NYC, Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis, American College Dance Association regional conferences, Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Houston High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and National and Regional High School Dance Festivals.

As a leader, James serves on the Cultivating Leadership Committee for National Dance Education Organization; as a member of National Association of Schools of Dance; and on the Board of Directors for the Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation in Geneva, Switzerland. James also served on the national board of directors for the American College Dance Association; as Director of the Modern and Jazz programs at Eastern Connecticut Ballet; as Director of the dance program at Western Reserve Academy; as Director of Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance for 10 years; as a member of the Board of Directors and the Advisory Committee of the Connecticut Dance Alliance; on Connecticut Ballet's Danbury Dance Initiative Task Force; and on the founding creative team behind the Young Choreographer's Festival in Stamford, CT. He presented a keynote speech, Leadership and Innovation in Arts Education, for the Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation in Switzerland; collaborated in presentations with Dr. David Pendleton on Leadership Jazz at the Henley Business School at Reading University and the Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival in the UK; presented Dance Paradigms: From Traditional to Postmodern and Beyond at National Dance Education Organization National Conference (NDEO), Hawaii University International Conferences on Art and Humanities, American College Dance Association conference (ACDA), Fontbonne University, and for the symposium Transmodern: Integrating the Art and Science of Movement at the University of Milwaukee, WI; presented workshops on Core Elements of Jazz Dance for NDEO, ACDA, and California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; presented a workshop on creativity at Advancing Creative Thinking: Imagination to Innovation at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut; and presented a speech on the Creative Process for the Webster University President's Faculty Dinner and Lecture.