Laurie Merriman, Professor of Dance at Illinois State University, earned her B.F.A. (double major) in Ballet & Modern Dance from Texas Christian University and her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She began her professional training at The National Academy of Dance in Champaign as a young ballet dancer and eventually became a scholarship student with the Joffery Ballet School and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.  Laurie's dual respect and love for both ballet and contemporary dance has afforded her the opportunity to perform and learn the works of many great artists in the field such as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Stephen Koester, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey, Vaslav Nijinsky,  Michel Fokine, Marius Petipa, Robert North, and Frederick Ashton (among many others).   Laurie has been the recipient of various grants and fellowships for her work in choreography, teaching, and research.   Her choreographic work has been performed by the Columbus Dance Theatre, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre, the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and presented at the Southwest Regional Ballet Festival, the Harold Washington Library Theatre in Chicago, Illinois State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Winona State University, the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, Eureka College, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, several American College Dance Festivals, and beyond.  Since 1988, Laurie's teaching focus at Illinois State University has been in the areas of ballet and modern dance technique, Improvisation, dance composition, and dance pedagogy.  Laurie also serves as Assistant Dean to the College of Fine Arts and teaches at the high school level for University High School. She has served on the National Board of the American College Dance Festival, Illinois State Board of Education Dance Content Advisory Committee, adjudicator for the Springfield Area Arts Council, panelist for a variety of learning symposiums in the arts and in general education, Artistic Director of Illinois State Dance Theatre, ballet mistress for Twin Cities Ballet, Executive Director of Illinois Summer School for the Arts, Chair of the Illinois Dance Association, adjudicator for Beloit College, panelist for the Illinois Arts Council Artist-In-Residency program, member of the ISBOE Learning Standards Initiative in the Fine Arts, external evaluator for dance faculty at the Conservatory of Music, Dance Division, University of Cincinnati and Case Western Reserve University, and as Dance Division Chair for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.