David Curwen

Photo of David Curwen
David Curwen
(269) 387-5707
3123 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5417
Mailing address: 
Department of Dance
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5417

David Curwen is a Professor in the Department of Dance at Western Michigan University and has been a member of the faculty since 1995.  He brings to Western a 16-year career in professional ballet, having trained at the School of the Hartford Ballet and having danced with Maryland Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet and Dallas Ballet.  During this time, he performed principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Frederick Ashton, Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, Flemming Flindt, Choo San Goh and Michael Uthoff.  Following his performance career, Curwen worked backstage as Stage Manager and Production Manager for the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet and Production Stage Manager for the Fort Worth Opera and the Dallas Lyric Opera.  In a return to teaching and choreography, he joined the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Academy in 1993. 

Since joining the WMU Department of Dance, Curwen has taught all levels of ballet technique, initiated technology into the choreography sequence, and founded the Western Dance Project (WDP), which he directed for 13 years. Curwen’s guest teaching credits include national and international institutions: Paul Mitchell’s Vail International Dance Series, Southern Methodist University, Wayne State University, Arlington Dance Center (VA), Ballet Concerto (Fort Worth, TX), Point Park University’s Summer Dance Intensive, TNUA (Taipei, Taiwan) as well as American College Dance Festival Association, Regional Dance America and the National High School Dance Festival. In 2011, Curwen and his wife, Sharon Garber, were the first Americans to be invited as guest teachers to the Department of Dance at Sichuan University (Chengdu, China).

In the area of creative research, Curwen has choreographed over 30 works and has been cited for excellence by Regional Dance America, the Michigan Dance Council and the American College Dance Festival.  He received the WMU College of Fine Arts’ Award for Excellence in Creative Research in 2016.  In May 2006, his work, "The End", was performed as part of the National American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C.  Since that time, he has continued to create large works that combine dance, set design and technology (many with long time collaborator, Kevin Abbott).  Curwen’s interest in dance technology stems from his 2004 Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT). 

Curwen has been highly successful in obtaining grants and funding for creative and pedagogical projects including the WMU College of Fine Arts Technology Fellowship, the A&D Issa Music and Dance Award and the Faculty Fellowship Grant.  In March of 2006, he was part of the interdisciplinary team that received $290,000.00 from the President’s Innovation Grant to explore digital media and performance. Curwen is a founding member of CORPS de Ballet International, a professional organization dedicated to the development, exploration and advancement of ballet in higher education.  He served as its president from 2006-2008 and received the CORPS de Ballet Board of Director’s Award for Outstanding Service in 2011.

Curwen is married to Sharon Garber, also a member of the WMU dance faculty and a former professional ballet dancer. They have two daughters, Shelby and Darci.