Ali Duffy

Ali Duffy
A President's Excellence in Teaching Professor of Dance and Honors, Associate Head of Dance, and Graduate Dance Director at Texas Tech University/Artistic Director of Flatlands Dance Theatre


Bachelor of Arts in Dance, UNC Charlotte (2001)
Master of Fine Arts, Choreography, UNC Greensboro (2009)
PhD, Dance, Texas Woman's University (2017)

Hometown: Home "region" Virginia/North Carolina

Ali Duffy moved to Lubbock, Texas, in 2009 to join the faculty at Texas Tech University. The following year, she co-founded Flatlands Dance Theatre and has since artistically directed all of the company's productions. Her choreography has been presented in numerous venues and festivals across the US, and in 2009 she received the Kristina Larson Excellence in Choreography award. She is also a co-founder of the International Parenting and Dance Network.

Her screendance works have been selected for presentation at the Beirut International Film Festival, International Screendance Festival (Audience Choice Award), and the Red Rocks Screendance Festival. She has also been commissioned to choreograph for the NC Dances Festival and the National Dance Alliance. She has received funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Community Foundation of West Texas, the REA Charitable Foundation, CH Foundation, Helen Jones Foundation, and the Talkington Foundation. Selected performance credits include Stiletto/RWS Entertainment, American Dance Festival's Acts to Follow, Christo and Jeanne-Claude's site-specific Central Park work “The Gates,” the NC Dances Festival, and The Moving Poets.

Recent awards and honors include the William D. Kerns Award for Performing Arts, Texas Tech University Distinguished Researcher Award, Integrated Scholar, Humanities Center Faculty Fellowships, President's Leadership Institute, induction into the Texas Tech Teaching Academy, Institute for Inclusive Excellence, and the Kristina Larson Excellence in Choreography Award.

As a writer, Ali covers the American Dance Festival at Duke University for World Dance Reviews and has also been published in Ballet-Dance MagazineDance Spirit MagazineClassical Voice of North CarolinaThe World and I, and is featured in The Longwood Guide to Writing.  The Dance Critics Association named her their honorary Gary Parks Scholar in 2008, and she was elected to the DCA National Board of Directors in 2010. Her written research has been presented at the International Conference on the Arts in Society in Sydney, Australia, the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, and the 26th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in San Francisco. Texas Tech also honored her with the 2010 Gloria Lyerla Memorial Research Grant. Dr. Duffy's most recent book, Dancing Motherhood, was published in 2023 as was Meet the Dancemakers, an open-access anthology. Her book, Careers in Dance: Practical and Strategic Guidance from the Field, was published in 2021. Two additional books, Research in Dance (Human Kinetics) and Pandemic Motherhood: Exploring the COVID-19 Pandemic through Engaged and Applied Arts (Routledge) are forthcoming. She is the co-editor of the Research in Dance Education 2023 special issue, “Dancing, Parenting, and Professional Challenges.” Her written scholarship has also been published in the Journal of Dance Education, the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, Dance Education in Practice, American Journal of Arts Management, the Journal of Arts Management, Society, and Law, the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship, and as chapters in multiple books.

"There are so many meaningful moments (from my time at UNC Charlotte), but here are two especially important experiences for me," Ali says. "My first course at UNC Charlotte was a Jazz class with Karen Hubbard. I was immediately struck by Karen's infectious energy and love for movement. She taught me a lot about adapting to different dance styles and the importance of understanding a dance's history. And working with Delia Neil was a highlight of my university experience. She pushed me to find places in my technique that I didn't know were there; she encouraged me to pursue higher endeavors, which is so important because everyone needs an advocate in college; and she gave me opportunities to succeed, which I am grateful for."

Ali says that the UNC Charlotte Department of Dance provides students with a comprehensive study of performance, choreography, scholarship, and dance education, resulting in a well-rounded education.

"I would enthusiastically recommend the dance program at UNC Charlotte because of its innovative approach to the study of multiple contexts and perspectives of dance. My education at UNC Charlotte made me a desirable employee upon graduation. The faculty were incredibly supportive of my desire to involve myself in a range of activities and areas of interest, and because of this diversity of experience gained during college, I found myself advantaged in the professional dance field. In the UNC Charlotte dance program, I became skilled in multiple genres of technique and performance. I gained professional experience as a student teacher and an intern with NCDT (now Carolina Ballet), and was supported in my endeavor to dance competitively as an athlete with the university dance team. I learned much about performance, history, and critical thought at UNC Charlotte, but equally importantly, I learned life and career skills from a caring yet rigorous faculty." 

In 2015, Ali was named the inaugural Distinguished Alumna in the Department of Dance.