HARTFORD, CT – September 17, 2019 –Connecticut Dance Alliance (CDA) is pleased to announce
Debra Collins Ryder
as the recipient of the 2019
Jill Henderson Award
Photo courtesy of Debra Collins Ryder
The Jill Henderson Award is given annually to acknowledge and celebrate service to the Connecticut dance community through contributions in the areas of scholarship, education, and in-kind support to the dance field. The award is named in honor of former Connecticut Dance Alliance board
president and Distinguished Achievement in Dance award recipient Jill Henderson, who spearheaded the Alliance’s Dance History Project.
Ryder will be honored during CDA’s annual awards ceremony on Sunday, October 6. Recipients of the Distinguished Achievement in Dance Award and the newly-created CDA Jump Start Award will also be recognized at the ceremony.
Ryder, a Philadelphia native who resides in Farmington, began her professional ballet career in New York City before joining the Hartford Ballet, under the direction of Michael Uthoff. She traveled extensively with the company throughout the United States, Latin America and China and was featured in many full-length ballets including
Alice in Wonderland
. Since 2006, Ms. Ryder has been a member of The Hartt School faculty, teaching ballet, pointe, and dance history, and has choreographed several original works. In 2013, Ryder was honored with the University of Hartford’s Sustained Excellence inTeaching Award for part-time faculty. Prior to her arrival at The Hartt School, Ryder co-directed the Eastern Connecticut Ballet and taught ballet at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She graduated with honors from Virginia Intermont College with a degree in Ballet Teaching and was on full scholarship at the American Ballet Center (the school of the Joffrey Ballet). Recently, she served as Dance History Consultant for the Connecticut Dance Alliance’s exhibit
Connecticut Dances: A Visual History
, which opened January 2017.