Texas Tech University

Faculty Focus: Charlotte Boye-Christensen

Head of Dance - TTU School of Theatre and Dance

Charlotte Boye-Christensen, a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, is the Head of Dance for the School of Theatre and Dance in the JT & Margaret Talkington School of Visual and Performing Arts. Her career as a dancer and choreographer has allowed her to teach, choreograph and perform in cities throughout the United States and the world. Charlotte received her BA in Dance Theatre from the Laban Centre in London and her MFA in Dance from the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. She joined the faculty at Texas Tech in 2017 and is excited for the opportunity to raise the international profile of Tech's dance program and to create an environment for her students to grow both artistically and professionally.

Charlotte Boye-Christensen

Tell us about life before coming to Texas Tech University. Where has your professional life taken you?

“I am originally from Copenhagen and my background includes a combination of contemporary dance and ballet. I trained as a dancer and choreographer in Copenhagen, London and New York City. Professionally, I have both taught at and choreographed with an extensive number of companies and institutions worldwide such as Singapore Dance Theatre, Danish Dance Theatre, Ballet West, Milwaukee Ballet, The Bauhaus Institute in Germany, European Dance Development Center in the Netherlands, Bellas Artes in Mexico City, The National School for Contemporary Dance in Denmark and London Contemporary Dance School to name a few. While I have been based in the western United States for the last 15 years, I have continued to work and build personal connections around the world that have led to collaborations in my own work, as well as the ability to commission and share the work of other relevant, contemporary artists. In 2013, I formed the interdisciplinary contemporary dance company NOW-ID to develop work with a focus on creating immersive interdisciplinary experiences for artists and audience. NOW-ID's work is concerned with on-stage collaborations among composers, musicians, visual artists, theater directors, opera singers and more. It also focuses on extending the experience by playing with site-specific architecture and themes, as well as the establishment of pre- and post-events for the audience.”

What is it like to choreograph dances in different countries and how has your international experiences influenced the movements you include in your choreography?

“Growing up, my family lived abroad for many years first in the Middle East and then in the Netherlands before moving back to Copenhagen, so traveling has always been part of my DNA. I love experiencing new places through my work and have always worked internationally throughout my career. To be able to explore and research the history and cultural significance of a site/building is an exciting additional experience of a place and something that influences my creative work to this day.

When I choreograph with companies and institutions internationally, I always come away with new influences, new perspectives, new insights and a greater understanding of the universal potential of dance as an art form. My choreographic palette expands with each new commission and collaboration. The dancers with whom I work add to and influence my understanding of my own choreographic voice through their interpretation of the movement material that I present.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching in new contexts because I have to be conscious of language, clarity of intention, clarity of demonstration, and awareness of cultural context. I think that is healthy and helps me in my quest for a more substantial, nuanced, refined delivery of information. I love the dialogue that can be ignited through the teaching of dance in different cultural contexts and the constant reminder of how important it is to have a global perspective in our teaching, to remind me to do my homework and be aware of trends and directions in our field.”

What brought you to Texas Tech and what are your goals for the dance program at Texas Tech?

“I initially came to Texas Tech in 2014 to be a resource artist in the School of Theater and Dance's WildWind Performance Lab. I was inspired by the vision and ambition that I saw in Mark Charney and the rest of the faculty involved. I saw a willingness to try new things and take risks. The students were supported and significantly challenged, and I believe that that focus on dynamic and fearless investigation is quite important in the shaping of new creative minds. My objectives with the Dance Program at Texas Tech University include increasing the program's national and international visibility, and its capacity to draw students and faculty to our campus. I also want to shape and encourage a dynamic, rigorous, and entrepreneurial strength in graduates to not only move themselves into the profession, but also to move the profession forward.”

What advice can you give to graduating students?

“I do not want them to limit themselves when it comes to shaping their careers and to forge international connections which could provide invaluable opportunities. In these times I think it is so important to encourage turning outwards to the world. Cultural connections are so significant in our field in addition to one's personal growth.

I also think that I can help our students understand that there is no right or wrong way to forge ahead. I endeavor to help them hone in on where their interests lie, what they are good at, and to see how they can shape a career accordingly.”

As you think about your accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

“Professionally, founding my company NOW-ID because it was created on ideas and methods that I have been cultivating throughout my entire career - ideas and methods that explore interdisciplinary and site-specific work as well as international creative exchange. As a company, we believe in fearless and artistic rigor, creative integrity, the power of collaboration, and in never saying no until we have tested an idea to the fullest.”

Academically, I am pretty excited about what we are trying to accomplish with the Dance Program at Texas Tech University!”