Department of Theatre

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Cylene Walker-Willis

Adjunct Instructor of Dance

Cylene Walker-Willis is an educator, choreographer, and artist. She grew up in the red dirt of Konawa, Oklahoma near the South Canadian River. Growing up in the eighties she enjoyed pop music and watching MTV but she was drawn to the rhythm and soul of blues music, listening to artists like Bill Withers and Otis Redding.

Walker-Willis received her Masters of Fine Arts in dance from Texas Woman’s University and has been teaching jazz, ballet, and various other styles for 20 years. She was classically trained in ballet by Rebecca Larimer, formerly of the Houston Ballet, and received her jazz training from Sandra Johnson. She has been in numerous productions including the Chicago Festival Ballet’s production of Cinderella directed by Kenneth von Heidecke, protégé of Maria Tallchief. Along with jazz and ballet, she also has training in contemporary ballet, Broadway jazz, contemporary jazz, tap, clogging, lyrical, musical theater, and stage set and makeup design. Currently her choreography focuses on contemporary-jazz and post-modern genres.

Walker-Willis also has a passion for facilitating community theater and dance projects. In 1998 she helped build Second Man Ministries, a local liturgical dance and drama company, as a performer. She then became its director in 1999, directing and producing plays, musical dramas, and dances until 2003. Along with teaching dance at Oklahoma State University, Walker-Willis currently works at Dance Star Productions as Ballet Coordinator and Hip Hop Instructor. Most recently, she has presented her research on community practices at the World Dance Alliance 2017 Global Summit in Canada. She returned in February of 2019 to the World Dance Alliance America’s Conference to teach a workshop on collaboration, perform, and present her current research on the dance making process. Walker-Willis was also a featured artist in Voyage Dallas Magazine in their “Thought-Provoker’s” Series. Walker-Willis is the owner of Brave Productions and Creative Director of Brave Art Dance Theater in Stillwater, Oklahoma where she has been producing work for the past four years.