Following graduation from Shenandoah University, Kelly McGill ’17 (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance) moved to Arlington, Virginia, where she joined D.C.-based contemporary dance company Motion X Dance. McGill was a company member with Motion X for three years, performing throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia and North Carolina. During this time, McGill taught contemporary and modern dance, jazz and ballet at many area dance schools, including the Greater Washington Dance Center and Metropolitan School of Arts.
In 2020, McGill relocated to Southern California where she attended the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Dance program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) on full scholarship. While at UCI, McGill worked as a teaching assistant and associate, teaching courses in ballet and jazz for non-dance majors and assisting professors in multiple lecture courses including Dance History, Music for Dancers, Critical Issues in Dance and Scientific Concepts in Health. As a second-year graduate student Kelly served as the graduate assistant to distinguished faculty Lar Lubovitch, of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, in a dance composition course for first-year graduate students.
McGill completed her M.F.A. in Dance in June 2022. The culmination of this degree included a master’s thesis consisting of a written thesis and a choreographic project. McGiill’s master’s thesis, “Creativity in the Choreographic Process,” focuses on creativity types and creative problem solving in the choreographic process. The choreographic component of this thesis was presented in a concert titled “Collected Connections,” which Kelly choreographed, directed and produced in collaboration with three other M.F.A. students.
Upon completion of her master’s degree, McGill began dancing with contemporary company Emergent Dance, and teaching ballet, modern and contemporary dance throughout Orange County, California.
McGill looks forward to beginning a new contract this month as a full company member with Backhaus Dance under the direction of Jennifer Backhaus. Now entering its 20th season, Backhaus Dance is Orange County’s premier, professional, contemporary dance company. Backhaus Dance’s mission is to engage and educate diverse audiences about the relevance and vitality of contemporary concert dance, both as a multisensory art form and as an essential connection to learning, creative expression and overall well-being. McGill is proud to be joining Backhaus Dance as a performing company member and an education partner for the company’s Dance for Kindness program. Through Dance for Kindness, Backhaus Dance brings dance education to public schools throughout Southern California, incorporating themes of acts of kindness, human connection, anti-bullying, empathy and respect for each other, our families, and the world.