DTAA Faculty and Staff


Adel A. Migid — Professor of Theatre Arts, Coordinator of Production Design/Technology

M.F.A. in Theatre Arts and production design and technology from Ohio University, BFA and High Diploma of Dramatic Arts from The Academy of Fine Arts, Cairo, Egypt. Member of the United Scenic Artists of New York, with more than 25 years of experience in fine and applied arts, professional art direction, production design and consulting. This includes more than 250 production designs in theatre, dance, opera, television, entertainment and visual communication advertisements. Has shown national and international design exhibitions of works at art galleries, theaters, and industrial trade shows of professional and educational organizations. Recipient of international, national and regional awards and recognitions, including an International Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for lecture and research and a Certificate of Fellowship of Carnegie Teaching Academy, Scholarship of Teaching and Assessment and Learning. Has published articles and production design works in textbooks and professional journals and has designed and published multi-media design programs and research in academic and professional design publications, including: Art by Design, The Art of Scenography: The Universal Human Theme, and Fifty Years of Production Design and Technology at the Metropolitan Opera. Has exhibited paintings and production design works at more than 36 national and international venues, including the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York City. His production design works were included in the United States’s entry to the International Prague Quadrennial of Production Design and Architecture in the Czech Republic, and in an exhibition of production design works at the Cairo Opera House. 

Robin Prichard — Assistant Professor of Dance

B.F.A. degree in dance from SUNY Purchase and an M.F.A. from UCLA. Danced with Victoria Marks, Donna Uchizono, David Rousseve, and Opera Australia; and has performed the works of Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, and Doris Humphrey. Her choreography has been seen throughout the U.S. in venues such as Joyce/Soho, Dance Space, Highways, California Choreographer’s Festival, and Dance Kaleidoscope, as well as venues large and small in the U.S. and Australia. Choreographed and performed (via motion capture) for the interactive CD “American Idol.” Recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in Choreography, the Harkness Award, the Glorya Kaufmann Award for Artistic Excellence, an Australian Federation of University of Women Fellowship, and a Kahn Fellowship. Has taught at Arizona State University, University of Western Sydney (Australia) NAISDA (Australia’s National School of Dance for Aboriginals and Islanders), Sydney Dance Company, and Smith College. Her choreographic/research interests include cross-cultural choreography between indigenous and concert dance, the relationship between language and movement in performance, and the potential of dance to negotiate binary oppositions.

James Slowiak — Professor of Theatre Arts

M.F.A. in directing from the University of California-Irvine and a B.A. in anthropology, French and dramatic arts from Macalester College. Teaches acting, directing, voice, movement, and contemporary theatre styles at UA.
Co-artistic director of the internationally acclaimed New World Performance Laboratory. Has directed more than 50 theatre events and onducted numerous workshops in performance ecology and creative training techniques in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.  From 1983-1989, Mr. Slowiak served as assistant to Jerzy Grotowski.  Mr. Slowiak’s work has been discussed in The Drama Review, New Theatre Quarterly ,and other journals, as well as in the books At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions by Thomas Richards, Grotowski’sObjective Drama Research by Lisa Wolford, and The Grotowski Sourcebook, edited by Richard Schechner and Lisa Wolford.

Tom Smith — Professor of Dance

B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado and an M.F.A. in dance from the University of California at Irvine. Formerly with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Mr. Smith has performed nationally and internationally as well as on PBS’ Great Performances “Dance in America” series. He has worked with Donald McKayle, Tom Evert, and Joan Lombardi. His choreography has been featured several times by the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet as well as by regional companies and musical theatre. As a teacher he has recent national and international experience in Hong Kong, Denmark, and The People’s Republic of China. He also owns a Pilates studio in Akron.

Dr. Susan Speers — Professor of Theatre Arts

Ph.D. from the University of California in Santa Barbara. Has directed, choreographed, and performed in more than 100 productions. Has trained with Tina Packer's Shakespeare & Friends in Lenox, MA. Worked at the Houston Shakespeare Festival and with The Acting Company, a national classical theatre touring repertory company.  Was artistic director for eight years of the Shakespeare productions at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, directing Comedy of Errors, a Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Merry Wives of Windsor, and acting in Othello. Other directing credits include Arms and the Man (Weathervane Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (E.J. Thomas Hall, Curse of the Starving Class (Brisbane, Australia), The Medea Myth, A Doll's House, Big River, and Oklahoma! She served as the Artistic Director of Theatre L'Homme Dieu in Minnesota for 11 years. Has directed several performances at E.J. Thomas Hall on the UA campus, including Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon's SHOT! and Song of Ireland.  Served as the regional chair of the American College Theatre Festival ‘s Region III for four years and received a Kennedy Center ACTF award for her choreography in Media, a Noh Cycle, by Carol Sorgenfrei.

Cydney Spohn — Associate Professor of Dance

B.S. in economics (graduating summa cum laude) and a M.A. in education from The University of Akron. Former soloist with The Pennsylvania Ballet and dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre. Her repertoire included lead roles in Swan Lake, Cinderella, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Serenade, Agon, Square Dance, and La Sonnambula, along with works by Joe Goode, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Recipient of an Emerging Choreographer Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and two Princess Grace Foundation-USA awards. Her work has been presented by Columbus Dance Theatre, The Pennsylvania Ballet, and others, including the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Shut Up & Dance, and the Next Move Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Spohn has served on the board of directors of CORPS de Ballet International and is currently seated on the board of advisors of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.

Kara Stewart — Coordinator of Arts Administration Program 

Kara is a graduate of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Dance, 1985) and holds both a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Arts Administration from The University of Akron. Her professional career includes performing with The Ohio Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet, Cleveland Opera, The Washington Opera, and The Toledo Opera companies. Kara began her Arts Administration career as a program developer for The City of Cuyahoga Falls and The Community Health Center. From 2001-2003, she was Grant Manager for the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet and went on to serve as Development Director for CVYB and Executive/Artistic Director for Reach Out and Dance, an educational outreach program in Northeast Ohio until 2011. Kara is the founder and Executive Director of Art Sparks, a 501 (c)3 organization that brings the art of dance and music to at risk public school children. Kara is the co-author of Enhancing DECA Protective Factors Through the Arts (2006) and Using the Arts to Develop Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence (Department of Mental Health, 2007). Kara presented her research on utilizing dance activities to minimize impulsive behaviors in individuals with developmental disabilities at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts VSA conference in 2013 and has been invited to serve on a panel of administrative experts at the 2014 NDEO conference where she will represent Executive Directors of 501 (c)3 educational outreach organizations. She is a member of The Association of Arts Administrator Educations, The Grant Professionals Network, The Akron Area Arts Alliance, BVU, Ohio Dance, and The National Dance Education Organization. Kara is seated on the Board of Directors for the Friends of The Akron School For The Performing Arts.


Frances Donatelli — Administrative Assistant

Joined The University of Akron dance staff in 1992. Assists the Director, manages the Dance office, and assists students.

Christina Foise — Manager, Dance Institute

B.F.A. in dance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and an MA in instructional technology from The University of Akron. She was a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet Company, New Orleans City Ballet, and U.S Terpsichore Theatre Ballet (New York City) and was featured in productions of Nutcracker, Giselle, Paquita, Coppelia, Swan Lake Act II, Aurora’s Wedding, Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphides, and Balanchine’s Serenade, Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, Valse-Fantasie, Donizetti Variations, and Raymonda Variations. Prior to becoming Manager of Dance Institute, Ms. Foisie was a prominent member of the Dance Institute faculty under the direction of Gena Carroll and Lana Carroll Heylock and adjunct faculty for the UA Dance Program. Ms. Foisie continues to teach Ballet and Pointe technique for The University of Akron’s degree-granting Dance Program and is also co-instructor for Digital Technology for Theatre and Dance.

Chris Hariasz — Technical Director

Master’s degree in science and arts administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia, a graduate degree in law from Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland and a state certificate, Theatre Instructor of First Category, Lubland, Poland. He worked at the University of Pennsylvania prior to coming to Akron.

Irene Mack-Shaffer — Costume Specialist

B.A. in music (with a focus in theatre) from The University of Akron. Coordinates the UA Costume Shop and helps to design costumes for the University’s dance, theatre, and opera programs