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APSU Theatre & Dance Faculty

Deonte Warren Headshot

Deonté Warren, MM
Assistant Professor
Musical Theatre/Voice
TR 303
(931) 221-6553
warrend@apsu.edu

Pronouns: He/They

Deonté L. Warren recently completed his Master of Music in Music Theatre Vocal Pedagogy (2021) at Carthage College where he also served as adjunct professor of musical theatre. In addition to a robust private studio, working with singers of all levels from beginners to Broadway performers, he is also a Senior Voice Instructor for The Voice Lab, Inc. based out of Chicago. There, Deonté works with The Voice Lab in their goal to provide transgender and gender nonconforming voice users of all types “a safe, affirming, and creative space to explore gender and voice and develop new techniques to help express yourself authentically.” As a performer, Deonté has most recently been seen on Broadway in Disney’s Aladdin. He has also performed on cruise ships sailing the Central and South America, Jamaica, Italy, and Spain. They have also toured the United States, Canada, and Japan in productions of Sister Act and Dreamgirls and at Disney World in Festival of The Lion King. Deonté's debut album Love Essential (Live in New York) can be found everywhere music is streamed and sold.

 

Leni Dyer

Leni A. Dyer, M.F.A.
Associate Professor
Costume Designer
TR 204
(931) 221-6390
dyerl@apsu.edu

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Leni is an Associate Professor and Costume Designer in the Department of Theatre & Dance. She received her BA from Kennesaw State University and her MFA from the University of Alabama. Her professional career has taken her all over the United States and the world. She has worked for such theatres as the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, The Omaha Playhouse in Omaha, NE and Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA just to name a few. She also spent time working in the area of costumes on Cruise ships which offered her the opportunity to travel to places such as Japan, China, all of the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. Costume history and research is Leni's strongest interest. She is very active with the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Southeastern Theatre Conference, and Tennessee Theatre Association where she is a past President. In the past Leni had the opportunity to tour mainland China as an Education Delegate with People to People Ambassador Programs.

 

 

marcus headshot

Marcus Hayes, M.F.A.
Professor, Chair
Dance
TR 203
(931) 221-6371
hayesma@apsu.edu

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Marcus Hayes is Professor of Dance and African American Studies and is Chair of the Dept. of Theatre and Dance at Austin Peay State University (APSU) in Clarksville, TN, where he focuses on dance techniques, dance history, and choreography, as well as the African influences on social dances in the Americas.  He received a dual Bachelor of Arts in History and Theatre Arts: Dance from Beloit College (WI) and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Mills College (CA).  Hayes joined the faculty of APSU in fall 2006.  He is a past president of the Tennessee Association of Dance Board of Directors and currently serves a regional director for the American College Dance Association (ACDA) National Board of Directors.

Hayes performed and choreographed professionally with the Without Shoes Modern Dance Company and has taught dance for the Chicago Park District, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Rockford College, and the School for the Rockford Dance Company. Hayes has been commissioned to create new work for Beloit College, Lambuth University, and Northeast High School. Guest teaching appointments include the Alabama Dance Festival, the Panoply Choreography Competition, Tennessee Association of Dance, and the City Youth Ballet. Hayes served as an adjudicator for the Panoply Choreography Competition, as well as the Distinguished Young Women scholarship program (formerly Junior Miss).

Marcus’ research interests include identity politics in performance, formal issues in choreography, site-specific choreography, and dramaturgy for dance. Additionally, his interests in African Diasporic Dance traditions led to travel, ethnographic research, and intensive study of the West African influences on the folk dances of Latin America, specifically Cumbia, Colombian Salsa and Mapalé (Colombia), Tango (Argentina and Uruguay), and Merengue and Bachata (Dominican Republic).  

He has worked with many noted dance artists including Molissa Fenley, Liz Lerman, Dr. Ruth Little, June Watanabe, Anne Westwick, Chris Johnson, Margaret Rennerfeldt, and Dr. Jin-Wen Yu. He was selected to participate in The Creative Gesture: Dramaturgy for Dance program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Alberta, Calgary.

Hayes is the author of the textbook, Introduction to Dance: A Guide for Understanding Dance as an Art Form, available through Great River Learning at www.grtep.com.


 

 

Darren Headshot

Darren Michael, M.F.A.
Professor
Acting/Directing
TR 409
(931) 221-6297
michaeld@apsu.edu

Pronouns: He/Him/His

A Column Data lorem ipsum dolor sit amet calculatoA native Arkansan, Darren V. Michael received his B.A. in Theatre from Ouachita Baptist University and an M. F. A. in Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has training in mask work, the commedia dell’arte and Shakespeare from Bretton Hall College (the University of Leeds) in England, stage combat from the Society of American Fight Directors, and has been a professional actor/director/playwright in commercial, film and stage around the Southeast for nearly two decades now, including work with the Roxy Regional Theatre, Theatre West Virginia, and headlining the historical action/stunt show, Daniel Boone: The Man and the Legend.  Other onstage roles include the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko in John Logan’s Red, the honky-tonk rocker Cowboy Bob in Footloose, Zack in A Chorus Line, and Al Delvecchio in Happy Days the Musical. As a writer, his full-length play Scarecrows Will Never See the Sunset had its world premiere as part of Playhouse Nashville’s 2014 season in the Tennessee capital and is currently available through Steele Springs Stage Rights. His short play Imaginary Conversations with My Daughter was part of the 4th Annual New Play Festival at The Puzzle in New York City in July of 2014 and his short works Willie Nelson Ain’t Dead, Feathers, and Lyla Builds a Spaceship premiered in the summer of 2018 at the Madlab Theatre’s Theatre Roulette in Columbus, Ohio. Over recent years, his work, including The Romantic Sway of Near Earth ObjectsMasterpiece, and Voice Activated have also been featured at Roxy Regional Theatre here in Clarksville and at various events in Nashville.  He is the Past President of the Tennessee Theatre Association, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and currently the Vice-Chair of the Playwriting Interest Group for the Southeastern Theatre Conference.  He is a constant writer, board game fanatic and huge St. Louis Cardinals fan.  To view more of Darren’s work, feel free to visit his website:  www.darrenvanmichael.com

 

 

Dale Pickard Headshot

Dale Pickard, M.F.A.
Assistant Professor 
Lighting Design/Sound

TR 209
(931) 221-7046
pickardd@apsu.edu

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

A Column Data lorem ipsum dolor sit amet calculatoDale Pickard is a Lighting and Sound designer who has worked in theaters from coast to coast, including California, Iowa, Maine, Virginia, Indiana and Nebraska. Dale has taught at Virginia Intermont College and Christopher Newport University. She graduated with her BA in Theater from Illinois Wesleyan University and her MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Virginia. Dale is an active member of SETC and USITT. She has also spent 5 summers with the American High School Theater Festival (AHSTF) helping high school students from across the country and Canada transplant and perform their productions in Edinburgh, Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

 

 

Margaret Headshot

Margaret Rennerfeldt, M.F.A.
Professor
Dance
Memorial Health 110E
(931) 221-6768
rennerfeldtm@apsu.edu

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Margaret Rennerfeldt, originally from Illinois, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Masters of Fine Arts, in dance and performance from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and a Masters of Arts in Teaching reading from Rockford College. Ms. Rennerfeldt is a certified Somatic Movement Educator (SME) from the Center for BodyMind Movement and a member of the International Somatic Movement Educators and Therapists Association (ISMETA). She is also a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) certified through the Foundation for Human Enrichment, Trauma Institute.

Her areas of focus are dance technique, improvisation, choreography, somatic movement, anatomy and dance in education. She has studied with many great teachers including Warren Conover, Larry Long, Bella Lewitzky, Peggy Hackney, Janice Meaden, Mark Chandlee Taylor, Ed Burgess, and Janet lily.

Ms. Rennerfeldt’s professional performance credits include the Chicago Dance Medium, Akasha Dance Company and Without Shoes Modern Dance Company, which she directed from 1993 to 2001.

She has had teaching appointments at Rockford Dance Company, Rockford University and Beloit College. She has presented choreography, master classes and workshops at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Festival Alabama Arts Council, and Tennessee Association of Dance (TAD).  Internationally she has taught or had works commission at Театр Танца Возрождение (Renaissance Dance Theatre) and various dance studios in Moscow, Russia, Pontifica Universidad Católica Del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador, Lingnan University Hong Kong, and Seishin Women’s University Tokyo, Japan.

In 2012 her choreography “Finding Place” was selected for the Gala performance at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Festival Southeast Region and in 2018 “Gotta Make a Dance, the Last Gasp” was selected for the Gala performance for the (ACDA) South Region. She joined the department of Theatre and Dance Austin Peay State University in 2011.  

 

 

 

Noel Headshot

Noel Rennerfeldt, M.F.A.
Associate Professor
Scenic Design
TR 421 
(931) 221-7385
rennerfeldtn@apsu.edu

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Noel Rennerfeldt is an Associate Professor of Scenic Design for the Department of Theatre and Dance. He also serves as faculty advisor for Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honorary fraternity. Noel holds a Bachelors degree from Wayne State College; a Master of Arts is Scene Design from Miami University: and a Master of Fine Arts in Scene Design from Northern Illinois University. Noel has taught at Rockford University, Shenandoah University, and Wayne State College, He was also staff designer for the opera program at The University of Nebraska. Noel’s professional credits include Playhouse on the Square in Memphis; Nettle Creek Players and Richmond Civic Theatre in Indiana; Little Theatre on the Square, New American Theatre, Circa 21 Dinner Theatre, Artists Ensemble Theatre, Rockford Dance Company, Without Shoes Modern Dance Company, and the Clock Tower Dinner Theatre in Illinois; Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre in Virginia; Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville; and Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre in Mesa, Arizona.

 

 

 

ayo_headshot

Ayo Walker, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor
Dance
Harned 244
(931) 221-6374
walkeral@apsu.edu

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Dr. Ayo Walker is a Performance Studies Practitioner, Choreographer, and Dance and African American Studies Educator. Currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Austin Peay State University, she positions her work in the field of Dance and Performance Studies within three specific interdisciplinary and generative frameworks: Research-to-Performance; Practice-Based; and Practice-Led. As an anti-racist educator utilizing culturally relevant and critical dance pedagogies, her praxis is committed to substantiating the techniques, vernaculars, and genealogies and embodiment of historically marginalized and othered dance aesthetics in higher education dance spaces. Her general choreographic practice is rooted in visibilizing the “blood memories,” “aesthetic of the cool,” and the “get down” qualities evident in Africanist and Black dance aesthetics. These qualities represent the nature of the practice and how dancers of all backgrounds engaging with the practice and performance of these aesthetics, generates new knowledge contributing to the operational significance for this practice. All of which drives her duty as a complete artist/scholar to reflect the times viscerally and candidly, connecting the past with the present via staged representations of history on a loop. Employing social justice choreography representative of anti-essentialist movement that is at once exposing and undoing stereotypical assumptions historically signifying the Black body politic, her works challenge what performing Blackness is and isn’t. Performed by her project-based/pick up dance company, Ayo & Company, her works have been commissioned by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, PUSHfest, National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), Sacramento/Black Art of Dance (S/BAD), and Rhythmically Speaking and the Modern American Dance Company (MADCO). Ayo & Company recently premiered her latest work “Jadine’s Son” at both the 2022 We Create Festival BIPOC Legacy in the Arts and the BIG MUDDY Dance Festival.

 

 

Talon Beeson Headshot

Talon Beeson, MFA
Associate Professor
Acting/Directing
beesont@apsu.edu

Pronouns: He/Him/His

 

Talon Beeson is an actor, director, teacher, and writer. On stage Talon has been seen from coast to coast in theatres in Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Ohio. He has been heard on many TV shows, video games, and commercials nationally and internationally including Divorce Court (Daytime Emmy nomination,)GTA V, Call of Duty:Advanced Warfare, and as the voice of Kingsford Charcoal, among others. Talon was also the voice of the hit Swedish and French webshow Extreme Roadtrip. Recently, Talon booked the role of Jitter in the upcoming animated series Bit Wars and the role of Mike Meyhu in Monday Night Meyhu. He has also appeared in several episodes of the three time Peabody Award, and SOVAS nominated radio drama "Suspense!" Recently, he directed and played a lead role in the game "Soteria," which won the Bronze Award at the International Serious Play Awards and the Audience Choice award from Stanford University. Talon can be heard as the narrator of several internationally best selling audio book series including JTF-13, Fae Wars, and IST-1 (nominated for a 2022 Imadjinn award for best narrator). In 2017, Talon was nominated for a SOVAS VAA award for his work in the audio book Wonder. Talon wrote, directed, and starred in the short film "It Was Good" which has been screened at several film festivals. He was also the voice director of the hit TV show "You Live in What" on HGTV. He holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Shenandoah University and an MFA in Acting from DePaul University. He has taught across the nation at the SAG Conservatory, the VO Academy, DePaul University, Prairie State College, and Columbia College Chicago. His best selling first book, "Starting Your Career in Voice-Overs" is available in bookstores everywhere. www.talonbeeson.com  beesont@apsu.edu

 

 

Eboné Headshot

 

Eboné Camille Amos is a Visiting Professor of  Dance in the Dept of Theatre and Dance at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN where she focuses on Afro-aesthetics within contemporary dance techniques, dance history, improvisation (the embodiment of culture)  and multidisciplinary approaches in dance composition and solo practices. She received a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Dance Education from the University of Memphis and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Dance: Performance and Choreography at the Florida State University. As an MFA student, Eboné had the honor of performing her own choreography We Carry it Everyday in the COCO Festival in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She also premiered her thesis work Let The Church Say in Thomasville, GA. In addition to works in the University, she premiered her first contemporary ballet loose with the Tallahassee Ballet in the Evening of Music and Dance: Gershwin and Bernstein in Tallahassee, FL. As a performer, she has danced with Debbie Allen, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Millicent Johnnie and Josephine Girabaldi.

Before moving to Tallahassee, Ebone’s love for her community spanned over a decade of teaching over 2,000 children in her hometown of Memphis, TN. For 3 years, she spearheaded and developed a thriving dance program at Hickory Ridge Middle School. She also served as Resident Choreographer with the Young Actors Guild under the direction of Chrysti Chandler, an instructor at the Playhouse on the Square Summer Conservatory, and the Resident Ballet and Creative Movement Director at Briarcrest Christian School. In Memphis, Eboné was introduced to musical theatre. In 2010, she played Lorraine at Playhouse on the Square’s production of Hairspray. She went on to perform in A Chorus Line (Theatre Memphis), Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Footloose, Ragtime (Playhouse on the Square) and Legally Blonde and Singin’ in the Rain (Merry Go Round Playhouse).

Eboné’s research includes multi-disciplinary solo practices (writing, sound score, voice), the body as politics and creating work that fosters the cultural advancement and empowerment of the black community. Her pedagogical practice stems from the importance of accessibility within the performing arts. As she considers her non-formal training to serve as the ultimate foundation of her current artistic practices, she uses this platform to help students explore their “mother tongue/that ‘you’ only ‘you’ can do” that isn’t necessarily found standing at the barre. “My movement aesthetic  derived from family barbeques and church picnics. From playgrounds and middle school dances. I enjoy tapping into that ‘untrained’ part of me, the mother-tongue. The part that hasn’t been told it is right or wrong, it just is. I find this way of moving supremely special; highlighting the raw and uncut uniqueness found in us all; in the way we walk, the way we stand, the way we maneuver through life. I prefer this way of moving finessed with a technical prowess that enhances the line, shape and form of what our bodies do naturally. The way I move naturally  is rhythmic, gestural,  full of drops and swings and shifts and always grounded into the earth. I start with that and see where the rest takes me.”