Kelly Ferris Lester

Assistant Professor

Kelly Ferris Lester received her BFA in Theatre and Dance from the University of Memphis and her MFA in Choreography and Performance from the State University of New York, The College at Brockport. Lester is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and serves as a trainer for Shin SomaticsĀ® at the Eastwest Somatics Insitute for Dance and Movement Studies. Lester teaches all levels of modern and beginning ballet, composition, rhythmic analysis for dance, Repertory Dance Company, production, and dance appreciation in many models.

Lester believes that to teach artistry, one must stay in tune with herself as an artist. She continues to choreograph and perform at USM and in the region. In 2011, her choreographic work Clutching For was selected for the gala performance at the Southeast Regional ACDFA. Also in 2011, Lester and fellow faculty member, Meredith Early, will perform their recent duet Space in Between at Sarah Lawrence College, The College at Brockport and the University of Rochester as part of a research grant through the USM College of Arts and Letters.  As a guest artist, Lester created new works for The University of Memphis and Project: Motion Dance Collective in Memphis, TN and hopes to continue to build her body of work.

Lester believes that arts are essential in education and strongly supports the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). She is currently on the Board of Directors as the Director of Student Chapters (2011-2013).  She has served as a board member of the state affiliate New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA) from 2007-2009. She has chartered NDEO student chapters at The College of Brockport and at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she is the faculty supervisor for the USM NDEO student chapter.

Other teaching credits include: The College at Brockport(SUNY), The University of Rochester, The Hochstein School of Music in Rochester, NY, The University of Memphis, The University of Mississippi, The Center for Art Education at the Memphis Arts Council, The Theatre for Youth Program at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN

Choreography and performance credits include: Co-founder and director of Metal Velvet Dance Project from 2000-2004; company member Project: Motion, BIODANCE, and Kista Tucker Dance.